Lee Poulsen wlp@ampersand.Jpl.Nasa.Gov
Wed, 11 Dec 2002 15:48:31 PST
>Lauw advised me that I'd really love Veltheimia capensis. I ordered 
>one from Diana and it disappeared. I suspect birds, but it could 
>have been something else. It was very sad. I requested seed whenever 
>it appeared on exchange lists, but never got it. Finally last year I 
>ordered seeds from Rachel (which I should have done straight away) 
>and had good germination and most all have returned. It is very 
>strange however that the seedlings all seem to be growing on their 
>own schedule with one making great progress and having already about 
>4 leaves and many others with one or two leaves and a few just now 
>leafing out. Doug last year sent me one that was supposed to be V. 
>capensis that the birds singled out for attention immediately!! I 
>sheltered it in my green house where they can't go and it put out 
>replacement leaves. It looks like V. bracteata to me but he tells me 
>that it still may be capensis. Do the two hybridize?
>When Bill Dijk was in Pasadena, I bought seed of his bicolored form 
>that I admired in New Zealand. I haven't started it yet, but wonder 
>if the seeds come up how many I can expect to be bicolored?
>Mary Sue

My biggest problem with both species of Veltheimia has been that 
every year, an average of about one of my mature bulbs just up and 
rots on me while the plant is in full growth. What causes me 
consternation is that there will be 5 or 6 pots all sitting together 
getting the same amount of sunshine and same amount of water planted 
in the same soil mixture, and the other 4 or 5 plants just keep 
growing healthily. I'm kind of guessing that, even in winter, I'm 
still giving them too much water and have been growing them drier and 
drier each year--and it *seems* like my losses are are slowly 
becoming fewer.

I have one yellow one that I got at a sale at U.C. Irvine a few years 
ago that finally bloomed. I'm hoping that as the bulb matures more, 
the flower appearance will improve. For now I'm just glad that it 
flowered yellow after Doug Westfall told me that some of the labels 
had been mixed up on some of the little pots. I also have a few of 
the Bill Dijk bicolors that are mature bulbs and I think they're 
spectacular. The pink part is a nice saturated color so it contrasts 
very well with the white/yellow portion of the petal tube.

The V. capensis does well here too, but it goes dormant earlier. My 
one large bulb of it was the unlucky winner of the rotting lottery 
last year. Luckily, the flower had already matured and I planted the 
seeds and now have two pots of nicely growing blue-green seedlings.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena area, California, USDA Zone 9-10
Pacific Bulb Society - Treasurer

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