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Luscious Lachenalia

In a country blessed with many horticultural treasures, Lachenalias or Cape Hyacinth hold a place of their own. The bulbs become available from the beginning of March. 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.

Top Tips

  • The bulbs become available from March 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.

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