ZEPHYRANTHES (flowers of the western wind)

Not all of these bulbous plants are hardy. but the one most frequently grown as a pot plant. Z. Candida, from Argentina, is hardy outdoors in parts of this country. In pots indoors and with frost protection it has evergreen grassy foliage. The Mowers are borne on wiry stems in autumn. They are at first crocus-like. but open to form pure white stars with yellow centres.

Pol the bulbs in spring, setting several to each pot. and using any of the usual potting composts. Water cautiously at first, and even when the plants are growing water should never be applied too lavishly. It is best to allow the pots to dry out very slightly before reapplying water. In winter little or no water is needed.

The first year of potting may not reveal the best show of flowers. The bulbs are seen with the most effect when they are left to crowd out their pots for a few years, but during this time they should be fed when making foliage, and not disturbed. Flowering will then be prolific and nice clumps will be produced during autumn.

Provide a bright position at all times and a reasonably well ventilated place. Since the rush-like leaves of this species are evergreen in the conditions of a cool room, it makes a useful foliage plant. undemanding regarding temperature. In some areas of the country, in the South and West especially, it has been used as an evergreen edging plant. However, a severe winter will kill off the leaves, although the bulbs usually survive and grow again. Pest and disease troubles are rare.

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