Facts On Veltheimia Plants: Learn About Growing Forest Lily Flowers
By: Teo Spengler
Veltheimia lilies are bulb plants very different from theregular supply of tulipsand daffodilsyou’re accustomed to seeing. These flowers are native to South Africa and producespikes of pinkish-purple, drooping tubular flowers atop long stems. If you’dlike to learn more about Veltheimia plants, read on.
Facts on Veltheimia Plants
Veltheimia lilies are bulb plants of the cape of Africa.They look quite different from other bulb flowers. Those differences haveearned them a variety of common names including winter Veltheimia, forest lily,sand onion, sand lily, red hot poker and elephant’s eye.
Different species of Veltheimia lilies bloom at differenttimes. Forest lilies (Veltheimia bracteata)bloom in the late winter or early spring, while Veltheimia capensis blooms in autumn and winter.
They are most often called forest lily or cape lily. That’sbecause their native habitat is the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa wherethey grow in forested coastal scrub areas. Forest lily bulbs first producefoliage, a rosette of elongated, strappy green leaves. But in late winter or earlyspring, forest lily flowers appear.
Forest lily flowers grow on tall reddish stems that can riseseveral feet tall. The flowers are at the top in a dense, elongated spike ofpink flowers. The flowers are shaped like small tubes and droop, not unlike theredhot poker plant flowers most are familiar with.
Growing Forest Lilies
If you would like to start growing forest lilies outside,you’ll need to live in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8through 10. In cooler zones, you can grow them indoors as houseplants.
Plant the bulbs in late summer, August at the earliest, inwell-draining soil. All forest lily bulbs should be planted shallowly, so thatthe top third of the bulb is above the soil. If you plant them outside, justleave them alone until they start growing.
For those growing forest lilies as houseplants, position thecontainer in a cool, shady location and don’t water much. When growth appears,move the bulbs to an area with filtered sun.
The basal leaves can spread to 1 ½ feet (46 cm.) wide, andthe stem can rise to 2 feet (60 cm). Expect your forest lily bulbs to bloom inwinter to early spring. By summer, they go dormant, then start growing again inautumn.
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Species Lilies, Asiatic Lilies, Oriental Lilies, Trumpet Lilies, Easter Lilies, Companion Planting
Lilies make perfect partners with other plants and help create strikingly beautiful combinations in the garden. Since Lilies appreciate some shade around their roots while keeping their foliage and ravishing blossoms in the air and sunshine, they welcome the company of neighboring plants such as annuals, perennials, bulbs, grasses or shrubs. However, a few rules need to be respected to ensure your Lilies will thrive.
- Choose shallow-rooted companions: Lilies do very well in the company of shallow-rooted plants, which also help to keep their roots cool. Most annuals have shallow roots. On the perennial side, Peonies, Irises and Columbines are examples of shallow-rooted plants that will look lovely with your Lilies.
- Choose low-growing companions: Do not plant tall plants next to your lilies as they will shade the plants and reduce the production of Lily blooms.
- Underplanting your Lilies with a succession of flowers will reinforce the beauty of their spectacular blooms and extend the flowering season of your mixed border. Start with low-growing spring bulbs such as snowdrops, crocus, grape hyacinths, scillas, anemones and narcissi. They will provide color to your borders at a time when your Lilies are not at their best. Many shrubs are exciting in the springtime period, especially before the majority of the Lilies comes into flower. These Lilies will ensure a new revival in these garden locations later in the season. Chrysanthemums and Asters will provide late-season color and hide the base of your Lily stalks as they begin to decay.
- Lilies do not like too much competition and need a lot of space to mature properly. It is recommended to surround them with plants that are not too aggressive or invasive. Don't crowd them too close to these plants.
- Make sure you maintain good air circulation to prevent fungus diseases such as botrytis.
- There is a wide range of companion plants that will bring out the best qualities of your Lilies and share their space with a serene balance. Make sure you select any ornamental grasses, perennials, annuals or shrubs that have the same growing requirements as your Lilies. Most Lilies do best in full sun and well-drained soil, but some varieties prefer partial shade. Most Lilies do well in slightly acidic soil and very alkaline soils would preclude some of them.
- Texture, color, and form are also important in the selection of companion plants. Because of the colors Lilies generally possess (yellow, pink, orange, red and white, with all the possible colors in between), blue and purple-flowering perennial plants make favorite neighbors (Salvia, Echinops, etc.). Plants with gray foliage (Artemisia, Stachys byzantina, etc.) or deep green ferns can accent the beauty of LiLies effectively.
Lilies always provide an effective contrast against brown-leaved shrubs (Corylus maxima 'Purpurea', Cotinus coggyria 'Royal Purple') or blue-flowering shrubs (Caryopteris clandonensis, Hibiscus syriacus 'Coelestis' and Ceanothus 'Gloire de Versailles').
With such a multitude of companion plants to pair your Lilies with, you are sure to find several combinations that will enhance your landscape and please your eye!