Massonia pygmaea

Scientific Name

Massonia pygmaea Schltdl. ex Kunth


Massonia pygmaea subsp. pygmaea, Massonia heterandra, Neobakeria heterandra, Polyxena bakeri

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Scilloideae
Genus: Massonia


Color: White to pink
Bloom Time: Early to mid-October


Massonia pygmaea is a very dainty little miniature Massonia. Each bulb produces a pair of unusual warty leaves with a spattering of long hairs. The leaves are usually up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long, rarely attaining more than 2.4 inches (6 cm) in length. Flowers can be purist white to pink, which, en masse, combine to give a "shaving-brush" effect. It is usually the first of the Massonias to flower. The blooms appear early to mid-October but delayed watering, and the weather's vagaries can see this plant in flower in early December.

Massonia pygmaea
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USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Most species are winter growers, summer dormant, and bloom early, often in late fall to early winter. Seeds are formed in a 3-angled (papery) capsule, which, as it dries, elongates and easily lifts out or is detached to disperse the seeds. Summer dormant plants will come out of dormancy on their own in the fall, even when water is not given. Massonia species have perennial roots, but they are not as picky about losing them as members of the Amaryllidaceae. Repotting can be done any time, but probably best right before they come into growth. A dry dormancy is required.

Massonias are easily grown from seeds. Sow the seeds right before the growing season and cover with a thin layer of medium. Seeds will germinate in 2 to 3 weeks. In the first year, seedlings make a single cylindrical leaf, and each progressive year, the leaf gets bigger until two leaves per bulb appear. Community pots of seedlings increase in size each year, and the leaves can soon become crowded. Eventually, they need to be transferred to one bulb per container unless the container is large and can accommodate the leaves' spread without overlapping too much. See more at How to Grow and Care for Massonia


Native to South Africa.


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