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March 24, 2014

GROW A VELTHEIMIA - AND A BEST BULB GIVEAWAY EVER!

Veltheimia 'Yellow Flame' giveaway - win a division of this very plant that will bloom next winter in your house!


A few of you have been writing to see if I would ever be interested in selling some of my plants from the greenhouse. I may to that sometime, but I am just not set up for it, nor have the time to properly market them - but I can do giveaway plants! So this week, I am offering a selection that is more uncommon, but not completely rare, just rare enough that trying to get one before they sell out from the one or two bulb catalogs that may offer it, often happens. I am offering a division of the easy-to-grow windowsill bulb Veltheimia, in its rare yellow form - 'Yellow Flame'.

TO learn more about this giveaway - click below!





Yellow Flame is closer to ivory or pale yellow, but in a plant species which is predominantly pink, it's an exciting thing. Often years go by before one is offered in rare plant catalogs.



We all fall into ruts, the Paperwhite rut, the Amaryllis rut, even into the forced bulb rut, but there is no one telling you that you cannot try something different, and something that is easy - perhaps even more easy than forcing a Dutch bulb like a hyacinth. Veltheimia is  genus in the Hyacinth family, but a small genus, with only 2 distinct species, and a handful of named selections in different colors. Once popular as a conservatory bulb for winter color, they are now hard-to-find, (yet not impossible) one is more likely to get one from an informed friend, or with a good Google search. Most often, bulbs will need to be purchased in summer while dormant, and then potted up fresh for winter growth and bloom, but I am offering one of my bulbs now as a give away, if you leave a comment, or "LIKE" the Growing with Plants Facebook Page, or join as a Google+ member or subscribe to my RSS feed.

I have noticed that my Yellow Flame Veltheimia likes a larger pot, but this year, my divisions were kept cold, and they are blooming with shorter foliage, and darker flowers. Each year seems to be different in the cold greenhouse, I think they really prefer to be in a nice, warm sunny window!

Veltheimia is one of those names that I always misspell, as I want to type Velthiemia, with the i before the 'e', but it was named after a patron of early Botany Augustus Von Veltheim by the German botanist Johann Gottlieb Gleditsch (1714-1786). Having a name from a person behind it, helps me remember how to both say it, and spell it as even Wikipediae gets this one wrong, and don't even mention spellcheck or Apple Autocorrect.

The two known species are V. bracteata, (which comes in a few color forms, but mostly pale pink) and V. capensis - a species with denser growth which provides cultural hints to this ones native land, - the dryer parts of South Africa. By far, the most common species is V. bracteata, and all of its forms are most desirable, especially for window sill culture, as Veltheimia make excellent house plants. Today, I am offering a division of the harder-to-find yellow form which I received years ago under the variety name of 'Lemon Flame'.


The more common pink flowered Veltheimia bracteata is the most common form, I often give these offsets as gifts to visitors when we host plant society meetings, but I tend to favor the more unusual forms.


Native to South Africa, the Eastern Cape and also found growing in the Mediterranean and S.W. Asia, the plant requires a simple, gravelly organic soil mix. In California, you can grow them outdoors in areas that might receive little summer rainfall, but their true beauty comes when they are raised as potted specimens, along side Clivia and Lachenalia, their cousins and blooming compatriots - the stand bys of any winter bulb collection.

Veltheimia make terrific window sill plants, and their unusual form adds a nice botanical touch to a winter blooming collection of plants. It's easy to see why these plants were once so popular in the late 1800's.



Veltheimia are long-lived bulbous plants, often dividing each year during their growth cycle, with one bulbs quickly becoming two or three in one winter, and then by the third of fourth season, completely filling a pot. If repotted, they seem to bloom better, but a large 12 clay pot with a dozen of their distinctive 'red hot poker' blooms is nice, too.

Some of my pink selection multiply so fast, that I have too many! The Yellow and bi-colored selections do seem to grow slower, so I have fewer to share. 'Yellow Flame' seems to divide in half, each year, so in year one I may have one bulb, and then it divides into two bulbs in the second year. It may then remain as a twin bulb for two more years.

I highly recommend Veltheimia to anyone looking for an easy to grow beginner bulb, that will bloom just when you need some color, January - March. Most Veltheimia appreciate a summer rest, which is where some people go wrong. If the foliage yellows and dies in spring, allow the pot to go bone dry until autumn, with perhaps only a trickle of water to keep the bulb hard. The bulb sits on the surface of the soil, not unlike an amaryllis, so never bury it too deeply, 2/3rds of the bulb should be exposed.

Undemanding, and fun - Veltheimia may still never experience a renaissance, simply because they are difficult to market - they are impractical for wholesale growers to raise, and bloom between major Holiday's, so the Veltheimia may always remain a collector bulb for those who simply know about them, and of course, with their good friends, for sharing is a must, once you have kept one for a few years.

Veltheimia bulbs are perhaps the easiest of my South African bulbs to grow, especially indoors.




Today I am offering a nice divisions of a rare yellow flowered form  Veltheimia bracteata 'Yellow Flame'. I will announce the give away winner on Friday night. Good luck! Just leave a comment and if you are so inclined, any of the Social Media sharing such as "like' on Facebook, or join as a follower on Google, Google+. Of course, you don't need to do any of this to win, as I won't check! But you will need to at least, leave a comment without selecting 'Anonymous' so that I can contact you.

Good luck! This plant is a treasure to own~

…and just in case your thought that this giveaway was all over…….if you are all extra nice, I might offer this gem!~



53 comments :

  1. Mariane kuchel1:54 PM

    Love it Matt. It does look like a red hot poker.

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    1. Thanks Mariane - say, I have to tell you, those Primula x kewensis seeds that you sent me are all sprouting under lights! I am SO excited. Hopefully you will see them at our annual garden party in May. Good luck!

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  2. What a great looking flower! Thanks for the post and information. Would be a great addition to my cut flower garden.

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  3. Your posts are always so interesting! I have a question though. Does it have a fragrance? I would love to try a new plant Thanks! Susan.

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    1. Susan, it does not have a fragrance, but once you see it in bloom, you won't really care! Like many Lachenalia and even Kniphophia, these plants are pollinated by sun birds, so they are nectar producing flowers and not bee pollinated.

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  4. I'm in! Would love something new for my windowsill in winter.

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    1. Kathy, this bulb would be so perfect for you! Best luck ever!

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  5. Count me in! I'd love to own a Veltheimia! Also, since discovering your blog a few weeks ago, I'm slowly reading back post by post through the years....I'm a total garden enthusiast and have a LOT to learn, but your blog is opening my eyes to all sorts of new plants!

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    1. Alexandre, thank you! You know, even I like to reread some of my posts working backward, although - my spelling then was awful! It just takes time to go back and revise everything. But thanks so much! With plants, as you know, we all have something to learn - no one knows it all!

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  6. Anonymous2:34 PM

    So pretty! I am ready for spring! And, I am also in love with that greenhouse!

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    1. Thank you Blogbloom! Great luck!

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  7. Hi, your blog is very interesting, informative and enjoyable, and I would love to win this for my husband.

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    1. Thanks Carol. I think he would love it! Fingers crossed for Friday!

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  8. Congratulations on your new job. It better not eat greedily into your time to hamper sending all your wonderfully inspiring words and pictures to us. You make the winter so much brighter. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Artsea! Of course, it will, but I will always make time for this, I can't help it.

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  9. These are gorgeous! I want to win!

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    Replies
    1. Jeanne, Oh wish everyone could win!

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  10. I just discovered your site a couple months ago through Seeding a Good Life and I'm really enjoying your blog. I also think it's very considerate to do a plant giveaway of one of your rarities for your readers. What a great way to welcome in the spring :)

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    1. Thanks Ronan, and welcome! So nice of you to say that - there are so many good gardening blogs out there, appreciate it!

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  11. Beautifully unusual.... I would love to own one.

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  12. Looks great. Would love to give it a try. Consider me entered!

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  13. hopflower9:54 PM

    I would love a Veltheimia for my bulb collection!

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    1. Well them......super luck going your way!

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  14. That's a beauty I wasn't familiar with before. I wonder if the trick to spelling it is thinking of the pronunciation as *Velt*Heim*ia* Would love to have one on my windowsill.

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    1. Hey Shady, actually, that is how I remember. I just think of my friend Glen saying it, and then I remember how to spell it!

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  15. What a lovely flower with such attractive foliage. I was not familiar with this bulb and would be so thrilled to get one. I really enjoy all your posts. Still looking for a 'Lipstick' Camellia.

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    1. You can look, or call Nuccio's in Pasadena, CA. They should have it in stock and can ship one.

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  16. Anonymous5:06 PM

    I have a Clivia "Nakamora red" from you by way of a gift from Hrabota (so long ago), and some white Japanese Iris that you split when I was there on a visit with the afore mentioned superhero (pre-greenhouse).
    I would love to add to my Mattus collection...

    johnnybc at cox dot net

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    1. Holy Cow. That's right! How have you been? email me.......I can hook you up with some better selections if you are interested. I haven't seen Jen in a while, except on FB. TIme goes by fast....are you still in Providence? I am moving my office downtown, finally. Better places for lunch!

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    2. Anonymous8:35 PM

      Hey Matt, I don't have your email address (unless I am missing the obvious). My email is in the above post.
      And no, I am a homeowner now, in Providence's ugly sister Cranston. But we have a beautiful home, in a historic district, on about 2/3's an acre. It's all very good.

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  17. Anonymous6:53 PM

    Count me in! I like the greenish color, kind of like some flowering tobacco and hellebores.

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  18. Even though I live in Canada can I still enter your Veltheimia giveaway? Are you allowed to send bulbs across the border? If I lived in a warmer climate I would definitely own a greenhouse like yours.

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    1. HI Melanie, I think that we could try mailing it, perhaps overnight FedEx.

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  19. Just the thing to jolt me from the Amaryllis/Schlumbergera rut!.Thank you for this marvelous offer. Good luck to all of us.

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    1. Oh Jean, are they really ruts?! I think we plant people just keep adding ruts! Best of luck!

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  20. Lurv it. Would be a great addition to my SA collection. You're blog is required reading, thanks for dedication.

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    1. Thank you Andrew. I wonder...what South African bulbs do you grow?

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  21. What an incredible bulb the Veltheimia! First it has the most lovely and interesting foliage and then a beautiful flower that tops off the plant! I would tenderly love this plant if I was the winner and give it an honored place amongst my other plants! Good luck with your new job!

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  22. Jason Sarine12:43 PM

    Matt, Once again you always have the best. Throw my name in the hat please!

    Jason

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    1. You got it, Jason! Good luck!

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  23. Sally Hocking6:33 PM

    You write my favourite blog; especially when you share your snow days as I live through the Pacific North West's endless rain. Not so sure I would trade your snow for my rain though, my big-leaved rhodo calophytum is flowering for the very first time despite living through a week of -9 degs and leaves furled so tightly they resembled pencils. And, when I despair as my spaniel has chomped off every single carefully nurtured and mature kale plant (leaving the cavolo nero to last - clearly not the favourite) I am heartened by the antics of your pups and their trails of destruction. Keep on posting :)

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    1. Hi Sally. I don't know...I think I could trade weather with you right now, as it is snowing today, and I love the Pacific North West! I'm a little jealous that you are able to grow that rhody - I love the species with large leaves. We do love our dogs, don't we? Even when they munch on the kale!

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  24. When I was younger, I was so let down that tulips and daffodils failed to rebloom in my Southern California garden. But then when my knowledge of plants expanded, I found bulbs like these to be even more worthwhile, year after year.

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  25. This is beautiful and that rose alba is gorgeous!

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  26. You could grow crab grass and I would be envious!

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  27. If the draw is still open, please enter me.

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  28. What a generous offer! I already have this charming bulb, as well as dark and light pink selections. Velheimia capensis grows outside in the shelter of the eaves in my garden, too. I would liove to add V. 'Rose Alba' to the mix!

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  29. Anonymous4:53 AM

    mat ,I have 1 pink one . I live in sa . aust . it bloomed beautiful . now the bloom is wilted & I do not know what to do with it now . now it has 1 green petal mid way . I would love to know how to go on now I do n't water it , but am afraid it will dry out . it lives in front of a window that gets morning sun. spring is here now please help me .thank you ......myra

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  30. Anonymous12:32 AM

    Hi Mat. Tersia here, from Pretoria, South Africa. Thanks for a super blog. You are pushing me to make time in my life for gardening again...
    My mom gave me one Weltheimia plant (pinkish flowers) many years ago. I eventually planted out the two bulbs it had become in a spot against a south slope (cooler in southern hemisphere) ... also many years ago. The plants have been buried under leaf mulch for some time. Early this morning my guilt feelings made me find them, and dig them out. Amazingly I found 12 bulbs -- despite gross neglect on my part. Nature still reigns. To honour my my mom (who was a passionate life-long gardener), I will lovingly transfer these bulbs to pots, and give them some attention over the next few months. I will use a lot of the lovely mulchy compost they have been used to for so long. Not too much pampering though, as they seem to do ok with nature (i.e. I won't become a 'helicopter gardener' ... hovering all the time, hehe). If they obligingly flower in July (our winter), I will post you some pics. I am planning to plant out loads in our wild garden once I have enough bulbs. This is my 2 to 3-year plan.
    Aside: One of my prime interests is the medicinal/practical use of plants. I read that the flowers of Weltheimia may be eaten, like spinach. I doubt whether many of your readers are going to start chomping on their W. flowers in winter. You would need a lot of plants to feed a family!
    T

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  31. such a lovely looking plant ive got a few tiny seed raised commen pink one doing well in my sunny window but will be a few years befor i ever see a flower but such a nice plant to grow. I would love a yellow one such a wonderfully little gem :-)
    best wishes
    Steve

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  32. Thank you for the info on Veltheimia, I love them and have 3 pink bracteata, did have more but someone helped themselves. They make a lovely display in the pot and are now growing and coming into bud, I might try to propagate by the leaves.

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