Turning the Bulbs On

jeffrey_harris(San Diego, CA)March 23, 2006

A shot of part of the garden - the Aloe-like flower is Velthemia bracteata.

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patrick_in_fb(Zone 9 So. Calif.)

Beautiful, Jeff. Don't you just love Veltheimia? I can't get enough of them. Last year I splurged on 3 big pots, with about 10 bulbs in each, from Rancho Soledad - and planted them as one huge clump for maximum effect. Mine aren't quite open yet, maybe because they're in a little more shade. I leave on vacation next week, so I'll probably miss them... :-(

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 1:50PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

the Aloe-like flower is Velthemia bracteata

Is it related to Aloes?(Liliaceae/Asphodelaceae)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 3:03PM
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patrick_in_fb(Zone 9 So. Calif.)

Not really, Larry. Veltheimia is a true bulb, in the family Hyacinthaceae, from South Africa... which means it's summer-dormant. It does extremely well in pots, which may be the only way to grow it successfully in England. I find it will tolerate a fair amount of summer water, if the drainage is good, but your cold winters might be too much for it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Veltheimia

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 3:32PM
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jeffrey_harris(San Diego, CA)

Dear Patrick,

Yes sir, yes I do love those SA bulbs - I've lost but one (a Lachenalia species - this genus is particularly susceptible to dying if given summer water).

The Velthemia you see pictured is planted in almost pure clay, does get some summer water, but since it's in a raised bed it drains well. It never loses its leaves but flowers only now.

Thanks for the information on its place in the plant family.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 4:35PM
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patrick_in_fb(Zone 9 So. Calif.)

Some of my Veltheimias keep their leaves through the summer, while others drop them all. I guess a little bit of summer water will keep them green through their "dormant" period.

I can't keep Lachenalias alive either, probably for the reason you stated. Ixias are my faves, if I can keep the rabbits from mowing them down as soon as they sprout. The bunnies never bother the Veltheimias.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 2:30PM
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