TOW - Gethyllis

Cameron McMaster
Wed, 21 Jul 2004 07:01:44 PDT
Here are some ideas on cultivation - hope I'm not repeating what others have contributed! 

If possible, use a 20 cm clay pot (or add more holes to a plastic pot) for up to six bulbs. Ensure good drainage by first placing a few stones a the bottom, then a layer of about 3 cm of peat or good compost. Then fill the pot with a coarse growing medium, containing grit or grainy sand. A ratio of one part loam to three parts coarse sand/gritty mix should do, with a bit more sand in the top four cm.

The bulbs can be planted with the necks about four cm deep. Water the pot thoroughly towards the end of March, and then at about two-week intervals throughout autumn, winter and early spring. In areas with dry winters, water about every ten days. Do not let the pot be baked by the sun, keep the sides shaded and cool, but the plants need a few hours of morning sun or strong light each day. Towards the end of September or early October the pot should be allowed to dry out for summer dormancy. The bulbs can be left in the pot in a dry and airy spot.

Some time during January, the flowers should appear, flowering only for a few days. Mature bulbs that have been lifted may be inclined to skip the first season's flower. If the flowers have been pollinated (you can transfer some pollen from one flower to another), the aromatic fruits should appear out of the bare ground some time in March-April. The leaves follow thereafter. 

The whole fruit can be put into 250 ml brandy and left to draw for a few weeks, for the famous "kukamakranka brandy" that cures all stomach ailments! Or you can squeeze out the fresh pips from one end of the berry fruit, then dry the skin for an unusual bookmark The pips can be spread out on a plate to dry for about two days, then sow (just pressed lightly half into the soil) and water regularly - water from below if possible. Dry the seedlings off towards the end of November or early December.

For the Northern Hemisphere, add on six months to be in the right season!


Napier, Western Cape

where the weather is behaving like summer and we desperately need the winter rains

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