Welcoming Spring: Planting Beautiful Bulbs in South Africa
September ushers in the arrival of spring, and as the weather warms up across most parts of South Africa, it's time to embark on your springtime planting journey with a selection of brilliant bulbs. We understand the eagerness to get your locally-grown dahlias into the soil, but for now, let's focus on equally delightful garden wonders that are ready to be planted. So, prepare your soul, and by that, we mean your soil – the absolute foundation for healthy and thriving plants.
Amarine: Paint Your Garden Pink
Illuminate your garden with the vibrant hues of Amarine! This exquisite intergeneric hybrid, a cross between an amaryllis and Nerine, will grace your garden with unique beauty from late summer into autumn. These flowers are a joy to behold, especially when arranged in your favourite vase, so don't delay, start growing them now. Provide Amarine with a sunny spot, but if all your garden can offer is semi-shade, it will suffice, as afternoon shade reduces its thirst. Ensure the bulb's neck is just above the soil level, in well-draining soil. Feed your bulbs weekly with Hadeco Bulb Food and water deeply every three to four days.
Amaryllis: the festive ‘Christmas’ flower
Growing amaryllis is a breeze because they're incredibly adaptable to different soil types, whether it's heavy loam or light sand. So, when we say they're easy to grow, we truly mean it's as easy as pie!
If you're planning to grow them in garden beds, simply loosen the soil to a depth of about 30cm before planting. These amaryllis flowers are so impressive that even a single bulb in a pot can create a stunning focal point. However, if you want to go all out and plant more than one, it's best to arrange them in groups of three, making sure to space each bulb about 10cm apart. To kickstart root development, give them a good watering right after planting. Once that initial soak is done, allow the roots to settle for about ten days.
Once that waiting period is over, here's the watering routine: for potted amaryllis, water every two to three days (but don't forget to empty the saucer about 30 minutes after watering), and for those in the ground, water every three to four days.
Now, despite the enchanting beauty they bring, these amaryllis flowers deserve a little TLC in return. Treat them to a weekly feast of Hadeco Bulb Food until they decide it's time to take a nap and go dormant. Your amaryllis will thank you with their glorious blooms!
Crocosmia: Stars of the Summer Garden
Crocosmia, often referred to as falling stars, make a stunning statement in the summer garden with their graceful, cascading blooms. These indigenous flowers develop long stems adorned with vibrant orange blossoms from corms planted at a depth of 4cm and spaced 20cm apart. Position your Crocosmia corms in semi-shade where they can thrive for several years. Keep the soil consistently moist with watering every three to four days. By summer, your garden will twinkle with these falling stars. For enhanced future blooms, mulch with compost. Snip a few stems for effortless indoor displays.
Galtonia: The Summer Hyacinth
Our favorite gal, Galtonia, also known as the summer hyacinth or berg lily, is an absolute stunner. This true bulb, hailing from the renowned Asparagaceae family, is native to the southern Drakensberg mountains. While it graces high altitudes during summer hikes, you can bring its elegance to your backyard right now. Place Galtonia where it receives morning sun and afternoon shade, in well-draining, rich, loamy soil. Plant your bulbs in groups of about 20 bulbs for a striking display, with their points 5cm beneath the soil surface and 15cm apart. Mulch with compost and feed weekly with Hadeco Bulb Food for a splendid return of blooms the following year. Water your summer hyacinths every three to four days, for 10 minutes.
Gladiolus: Elegance in Full Sun
Infuse your garden with joy by planting glads. These tall, regal flowers flourish in full sun, buried beneath 10cm of soil. Commonly known as the sword lily, their blooms are more of soul food than weapons, evoking sheer delight at a mere glance. Indigenous corms of gladioli look best at the back of a mixed perennial border, thriving in well-draining, slightly acidic, sandy loam. Loosen the soil to at least 30cm before planting and enrich it with compost for the ideal growing medium. When in full bloom, you can bring these "supermodels" inside as cut flowers. Simply cut the stem 20cm from ground level, allowing enough foliage for the corm to continue growing. Water your glads every three to four days for 10 minutes.
Nerine: A Striking Native Beauty
This true bulb is a native South African plant, known for its striking flowers. It thrives best in composted soil that crumbles easily, so prepare your soil accordingly for its long and happy stay in your garden. Often referred to as the Guernsey lily, Nerine complements rock gardens or herbaceous borders and should be planted in semi-shade, with the neck just above the soil. Group plantings create a stunning display of pink, umbel-shaped flowers from summer into autumn. Make a habit to water your plant every three to four days for optimal growth and don’t forget your patience as Nerine do need a moment to settle before they dazzle you with their sprouts.
Polianthes: The Fragrant Tuberose
Why settle for perfume when you can grow Polianthes? This sensational, sweet-scented flower stands beautifully on its own or in mixed arrangements. To enjoy perfect cut flowers, start by ensuring the right soil and positioning. Loosen the soil and work compost into a depth of at least 20cm. Plant these sun-loving tuberous roots in full sun, nestled under 5cm of soil. Water them every three to four days when in the ground and feed weekly with Hadeco Bulb Food.
Tigridia: The One-Day Lily
Tigridia, also known as the one-day lily, lives up to its name as its striking blooms last only one day! However, each stalk produces abundant blooms over a period of six weeks. Plant these gorgeous true bulbs in a warm, sunny spot with well-draining soil enriched with compost. Consider planting them in front of other foliage-rich plants since Tigridia has sparse foliage. Water every two to three days in pots or every three to four days when in the ground.
Zephyranthes: The Sweet Rain Lily
Known as the rain lily, this delightful flower brings joy to your garden without the rain. Whether as a charming cut flower or a fragrant nighttime delight, Zephyranthes fills your garden with happiness. Plant these true bulbs in full sun, closely together for maximum effect, with their necks just above the soil. Prepare the soil by loosening it to a depth of at least 20cm and incorporating compost. These beauties are container-friendly, making them an excellent choice if you lack garden space. Water them regularly throughout spring and summer; they can withstand winter watering provided drainage is excellent.
Which of these delightful summer bulbs will grace your garden this year?
With so many options, we hope you'll consider planting more than one, transforming your garden into a place of abundance and beauty.
Happy Spring Planting!