Velthemia Seeds

don journet
Sat, 02 Jun 2007 04:01:43 PDT
      A number of people have referred to the growth habit of Velthemia  
bracteata in their setting. For me in the southern climate of Australia 
the bulbs start to grow in Autumn and by winter are very verdant and a 
few flower stems are appearing. Looking at the time I collected the seed 
reveals that it was early summer when I finally collected the seed.
     The plants are almost ever green but I tend to feel that I should 
impose at least a slightly longer dormant period as I have had a few 
bulbs rot and they probably would not suffer any detrimental effects if 
given a few months rest. Some plants do go completely dormant for a few 
weeks others have new growth starting before the old leaves completely 
die off. Our climate is closest to cold climate 9b with some frost over 
night in winter but very dry hot conditions in summer. I do give 
supplementary water as the bulbs are in pots among other pot grown bulbs 
and general plants. Even when the plants are kept out of the sun the 
light levels are probably quite high. Full sun here seems to be too hot 
and probably dry for the leaves which wilt quite seriously and in this 
condition become burnt.
     Looking at Richard Wagner's comments would very much translate from 
northern to southern hemispheres as being very compatible. The only 
difference is that mine seem to flower earlier in the eight month 
(September-April) stretch that he has referred to.
     I have not worried much about timing of seed sowing and have 
certainly kept the small plants growing through the first summer 
especially if the seed is sown fresh or after being stored for a year.
     For growing these bulbs in a mild climate I think I would suggest a 
sunny spot sheltered from frost.
     A further interesting point arises from how I have treated bulbs 
that have rotted at the base. Unlike many bulbs that die completely if 
the base plate is destroyed Velthemia seem to be capable of producing 
small bulbils from the damaged surfaces. I cut away all rot, dust with 
sulphur and keep away from desiccating sun and watch the bulbils form.

Don Journet

Brian Whyer wrote:

>What I grow as Veltheimia bracteata flowers in early spring for me too. I
>have green seed pods at present, and I allow the tired leaves to dry off in
>the summer, although according to this link
>… it is evergreen in
>the wild.
>I have mentioned this before, but, in the winter light levels in the UK the
>flower colour varies considerably. As a house plant my flowers are a very
>pale pink. In the greenhouse if not turned occasionally the south side is a
>good deep pink, the north side much paler, especially if it faces other
>plants rather than the glass.
>Brian Whyer, Buckinghamshire, England
>>My experience with Veltheimia bracteata in So. CAl is that it is a pure
>>winter grower. It begins to leaf out in Sept/Oct and blooms in
>>The leaves rapidly disappear after blooming. Currently they are in seed
>>which, in groups, is also quite attractive .
>>Richard Wagner
>>Vista, CA
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