}

July 6, 2011

A Chinese Lantern Lily? More like, neither.

A SUMMER BLOOMING SOUTH AFRICAN BULB RARELY SEEN IN GARDENS, SANDERSONIA AURANTIACA BLOOMS IN A POT WHERE IT'S GOLDEN LANTERNS SEEM TO LIGHT UP THESE WARM AND HUMID JULY EVENINGS LIKE JAPANESE LANTERNS.
 Even we gardeners fall into ruts. Ordering the same plants and bulbs each and every year. But why not change it up? Have you ever wondered who grows all of those odd little bulbs that you see in the spring and summer catalogs? You know, Gloriosa Lilies, Tigridia, Tritonia? Well, this year I am trying new things that I have never grown before, many are those lesser bulbs that we all seem to overlook.

This week, a slightly unusual South African bulb plant is blooming in a container, Sandersonia aurantiaca. More common as a specialty cut flower,I am finding that a container with 8 roots ( which look like bulbs, but are actually thick, brittle roots) make a less than exciting in a container. I think even if you planted u a dozen, the display might still be not worth the investment.  Commonly known as the Chinese Lantern Lily or Christmas Bells, most catalogs sell the plant by its Latin name, more likely because it is a single genus, with one species. In South Africa, this plant blooms in the winter ( which is summer there), near or around Christmas time in December. In our July garden, it illuminates a mixed container nicely, but in the garden, I think it can get lost, so I am not sure that I will grow this again.

Sandersonia is related to the Gloriosa lily which naturally is not a true lily, and neither is the Sandersonia  for that matter, both are members of the Colchicaceae family, ( You know - autumn flowering Colchicum - go figure).

Order Sandersonia in the late winter or early spring, I purchased mine from Brent and Becky's Bulbs.  I would suggest buying a few, since I bought 12, only 3 grew, so I am guessing that the roots are rather fussy and may not sprout uniformly. The root stalks that you will receive in the mail are very tender, and for success, they much be planted in pure coarse sand so that they can have perfect drainage. Potting soil can then be added to the surface, which I then mulch over with gravel.
SANDERSONIA AURANTIACA SEEMS TO BE THE VICTIM OF SOME LEAF HOPPERS THAT ARE FINDING THE LANTERN FLOWERS TASTY.  THEY ARE CHEWING THE BLOSSOMS INTO TINY SHREDS.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Oh yes, do leave me a comment!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...