In a country blessed with many horticultural treasures, Lachenalias or Cape Hyacinth hold a place of their own. Because of their excellent garden potential, breeders have been hard at work and have produced some stunning hybrids.
They may be short in stature, their flowers grows on spikes about 25cm high, but they more than make up for this with their vividly coloured blooms, making them ideal subjects for pots, borders or pathways. An added bonus is that the blooms are long lasting – often up to five weeks.
The soil where they are planted should be well-drained, preferably on the sandy side, with plenty of compost added. Place the bulbs just a few centimeters under ground level, quite close together.
Water is the single most important aspect of having success with Lachenalias. They should be watered every 4 days, with a sprinkler for 40 minutes.
Lachenalias also make excellent pot plants. Here, their unusual, but striking foliage can be appreciated to the full. They should be planted close together and look their best in shallow containers. The soil should be light, airy and friable. Keep the bulbs in a semi-shaded position until they come into flower.
They can be moved inside or to any focal point where their gorgeous beauty can be fully appreciated. Once again water is crucial. Soil in pots dries out quickly so water them every 2 days and every day in hot weather.
- The bulbs become available from end February and need to be planted before the end of April.
- The plants are tolerant of light shade, but prefer to grow in full sun – especially in coastal areas.
Arum lilies are prized the world over for their striking yet elegant blooms and lush green foliage. The genus Zantedeschia
is made up of 8 species, all of which are endemic to southern Africa. Only 3 species and their hybrids are generally available.
Fortunately being such a beautiful and generally easy plant to grow, hybridisers have been hard at work on the genus.
The most flamboyant specimens are the coloured species and their hybrids. A jaunt to your local nursery from late August to October will reveal a host of awesome beauties. Unlike the white arum which has an evergreen rhizome, these arums are deciduous and grow from a tuber.
Gardeners have been asking for them and Hadeco has responded by offering no fewer than 21 hybrids. The colours range from delicate pinks and apricots through bold reds to deep purple and maroon.
Of the species, Z. pentlandii
or yellow arum was originally found in the Roossenekal area of Mpumalanga. The striking yellow blooms are shown off against lush, arrow-shaped leaves with contrasting white flecks. The pink Arum (Z. rehmannii
) is the smallest of the coloured species but is also the most floriferous.
Plant your tubers in spring, in light, friable soil. Add lots of well-rotted compost and once planted, water to root level at least twice a week. Add three centimetres of mulch to the surface of the soil. This will keep the tubers cool, and help retain ground moisture.
- The coloured varieties need to prefer morning sun and afternoon shade.
- Arums do very well when grown in pots. Plant in well-drained soil and keep well watered.
- Leave the tubers undisturbed to multiply into large clumps.
- Feed with a fortnightly dose of bulb food from flowering time.