Gethyllis bulbs or seeds?

Started by Piotr, December 23, 2023, 12:21:44 PM

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Hi everyone,

I was wondering if anyone in the UK is growing Gethyllis, and has enough bulbs to share/sell? Or seeds?


Very few people in the UK grow them and rather few species offset at all or those that do, generally do so only very slowly, so any "spare" bulbs would normally be seed-grown. Seed is ephemeral and in most species is produced during late summer

Even in RSA, both bulbs and seed are scarce in trade and not cheap.

Imported bulbs have been available from Amand via UK EPay at around £50 each, although I do not recall the species that he was offering, although there were at least two. Being imports, they would have been 6 months out of sync' with the UK.

Posted elsewhere here, but should you not have seen it, free download - issue 36, spring 2023 -


Hi CG100,

Maybe somebody who has some will still reach out...

I did come across Jacques Amand website when searching and they had 7 species listed, none of them in stock though. I have also found a South African supplier who has seeds of some and I was wondering if they would germinate. They are not cheap though, at $45 for 5 seeds and that's on sale. They also have quite a few Brunsvigia species seeds, which are also quite ephemeral aren't they? Maybe I should ask separately how long after collecting people were still able to germinate Brunsvigia seeds.

Thank you for the link, nice article on Gethyllis! Aren't they charming little plants :) Love their South African name


Quote from: Piotr on December 27, 2023, 04:13:46 AMMaybe somebody who has some will still reach out...

Never say never   ;)

The seed supplier that you mention sounds like this one -  African Yemen Socotra Seeds, Plants – African Seeds (

They appear to be in Namibia, but are actually based in Estonia, or one of the other Baltic states (I can't remember for sure which one). They are also extremely unreliable.

To be legal, you need a phyto' cert' and will pay import duty and VAT when they arrive in the UK. Ideally you also need to pre-register the import with DEFRA.

If you assume that all SA amaryllid seed is ephemeral, you will be close to the truth. A lot actually germinates before it falls from the parent plant, it varies but receiving very fresh seed that has roots is normal so that you really need to order seed only 4-8 weeks after collection. Both Silverhill and Lifestyle will provide this information.
However, I have sown a batch of Crinum asiaticum (not S African) seed and all but one seed germinated within 2-3 weeks, but the last one took 2-3-4 months.
The seeds are ephemeral not because they become non-viable, but because they start to grow so very fast and will die if they have nothing to root into. Strumaria are perhaps the "worst" - I have a couple of plants and the very few seeds that have been set, have all germinated within the seed pod and have had a root a few mm long when I have "harvested" them.
Plants such as Ledebouria and Drimia, and the allied genera, frequently have seed that does "die" if not sown very soon after ripening.


Yes! That's them. How do you know they are not in Africa?

They do have a species I would like but I'm not sure about ordering. Neither Silverhill nor Lifestyle Seeds ever seem to have Brunsvigia or Gethyllis seeds and I assumed they might just be too problematic to ship and then germinate with success.

Africa Seeds guarantee high germination rates though - is this why they are so expensive? ;) Free phytosanitary certificate if you order for over $120.

Have you ordered from Lifestyle Seeds before?


Quote from: Piotr on December 27, 2023, 06:55:26 AMHow do you know they are not in Africa?

Check around on UK forums, especially the BCSS. People who do receive their orders do not get them posted from Africa. Some items never turn up and identification is not always reliable.

Amaryllid seed is in demand and is ephemeral, so it is in stock with Lifestyle and Silverhill only for short periods - it is out of stock for far longer than it is for sale.

Germination is absolutely not at all a problem - the seed germinates more easily than cress. Getting seed to you alive and viable is the problem. That produces another (financial) problem - ordering small quantities of seed which need a phyto' and international carriage, so that the costs beyond the seed are comparatively large. You cannot wait for 2-3-10 species with ephemeral seeds to become available because they sell quickly and the oldest would probably be dead by the time the last species was available. When there were no restrictions it wasn't a huge problem - just the cost of an airmail letter to receive 10-20 seeds.

There are very few commercial and society seed suppliers in Europe, the USA and RSA that I have not bought from over the past 30 years, or had plants through their seed/bulb X, although a lot of it is now impossible (legally) due to enforcement of phyto-sanitary laws, and due to Brexit. Seed from all of the small number of species of Clivia, Crinum, Brunsvigia, Crossyne and Scadoxus that I have been able to buy fresh, have germinated extremely well, close to 100%, and survival has also been excellent.
I have never bought or sown Gethyllis seed though.

Lifestyle have a reputation, not from me so far, for misidentification - I haven't enough of their seed grown to a size to be able to reliably identify them to be able to comment. They do include collection location and date on their listing though, but you have to check the actual listing for the species - other dates appear elsewhere, such as in search hits.