Lachenalia : Greenhouse Plants
C – cool, minimum of 7°C (45°F)
There is some confusion with the naming of these attractive little winter and early spring flowering bulbs known as the Cape Cowslips. The most commonly grown used to be known as three different species but are now grouped under Lachenalia aloides; L. tricolor is now L. aloides and has red yellow and green flowers. Stems and leaves are attractively mottled with purple. L. aurea is now L. a. ‘Aurea’ and is tall and golden flowered. L. nelsonii is now L. aloides ‘Nelsonii’ whose flowers are orange with a green tinge. Leaves are tinged with purple but not spotted. L. bulbifera (L. pendula) is a tall plant with stunning bright coral-red flowers tipped with purple. One occasionally finds other species but these are the main ones offered for sale. Bulbs should be potted up in August or September, several to a pot, and covered with 2.5 cm (1 in) of the well-drained loam-they favour. Having watered them in well the pots should be stood in the cool house and only watered again when the surface of the is well dried out. More water can be given as the plants grow. After flowering water can be gradually withheld until the leaves turn yellow and die down. They should then be kept dry until potting time. It does them no harm to be grown a little warmer (13°C, 55°F) but they are liable to become floppy and in need of support.