Summer Hyacinth – Galtonia candicans

Summer Hyacinth – Galtonia candicans is an extremely useful plant in that it flowers in profusion in the border throughout August and early September – a difficult period not only for bulbs but for most herbaceous plants, for until the first Michaelmas daisies appear it is a period of little colour. In a cold, heavy soil, bulbs may not be completely hardy and should either be covered with a long straw mulch during November or be lifted and wintered indoors until planted out again late in March.

Summer Hyacinth - Galtonia candicans

As all bulbs seem to remain in better condition in the ground provided it is well drained, I prefer to incorporate in the soil some sand and liberal dressings of leaf mould. The bulbs are planted 4 in. deep and 9 in. apart in groups of four. As they grow to a height of 4 ft. they should be placed towards the back of the border. With a hedge, wall or wattle hurdles as a background, they make a delightful display with their spires of pure white drooping bells.

Although related to the spring-flowering Hyacinth, it is a much larger-growing and altogether more conspicuous subject. The species G. candicans, often known as Hyacinthus candicans or the Summer-flowering Hyacinth, produces good-sized bulbs, long, strap-shaped, pointed leaves and strong, erect-growing flower-spikes, 4 ft or more high. In the summer these spikes bear 20 or more large, drooping, sweet-scented, pure-white bells of great beauty. A group of three or more bulbs, planted 5 or 6 in. deep in the early part of the year, will produce a very bold effect in the summer.

Any good, well-drained ground is suitable, and the sunnier the position, the better the show. A winter mulching of litter, leaf mould or decayed manure will prove beneficial.


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