Cape Cowslip–Lachenalia

Commonly known as the Cape Cowslip, this is a bulbous plant that deserves to be more widely grown. The blooms which are chiefly of rich orange and gold colourings, are similar in shape and habit to the lily of the valley, possibly more tubular. The bulbs should be planted several to a 60-size pot early in August, in a compost composed of loam, cow manure and peat which will provide the moist conditions the bulbs enjoy. The bulbs should then be placed in a slightly heated greenhouse, or even in a window of the home where the pots will receive as much of the winter sun as possible. They will continue to grow during the winter months and come into bloom early in spring.

Propagation is either by sowing seed in June in cold frames, or from offsets removed after the bulbs have flowered when the parent bulbs should die down in the normal way and be started into growth again in August.

SPECIESCape Cowslip–Lachenalia

Lachenalia aurea. This is the most commonly seen species, flowering with great freedom in the cold greenhouse.

L. glaueina. Quite inexpensive, but what a lovely plant. The rich blue tubular bells possess a delightful perfume.

L. Nelsoni. An older species, bearing golden yellow blooms in profusion.

L. rubida. An unusual, dainty species bearing pale pink bells on only 8-in, stems during March. The first to bloom.

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