TOW: Veltheimia

Brian Whyer
Wed, 28 Jan 2004 10:00:19 PST
Please can I have some clarification on which is which of these species?

Phillips and Rix Conservatory plants book says, although with some
reservations apparently;
V. bracteata, summer growing, dark evergreen leaves, flowering probably
June-July (RSA), bulbs squat, round, fleshy scales.
V. capensis, winter growing, wavy edged glaucous leaves dying back in
summer, flowering April-July, bulbs long and narrow, papery tunic.

I grew 2 packets of V. bracteata? AGS seed, say 10 years ago, to give
many bulbs of which I retained 3. Most of the rest were sold on an AGS
stand at a Birmingham bulb weekend meeting some years back.
At present I have 3 pots in a spare bedroom, that differ only by leaf
width, the narrower being about 1" wide with very very wavy edges, the
others 2" wide with only very wavy edges, both dark green. They die down
in summer, flower each spring with pale pink flowers, and both forms
have large (3 1/2 - 4" diameter) squat round scaly bulbs. I currently
have them in bud, with 6 12" flower stems on 3 pots, 3 on smallish (1"
diam.) side shoots. They are 24"" or so in flower.
Which am I growing? Mine look similar to the V. bracteata in the book,
only much paler flowers.

They are the most tolerant bulbs I know for house plants, probably more
so than even clivia, I only wish the colour was more interesting and the
flower stem was 12" shorter. The root system is surprisingly small for
such large bulbs, or maybe that is the way I grow them.

Brian Whyer, zone 8'ish, Buckinghamshire, England, where over the last
1/2 hour we have had a thunder storm and an inch of snow.

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