Watsonia meriana var. bulbillifera, the Bugle Lily, is native to South Africa and has sword-shaped leaves and delicate, soft-apricot coloured flowers which do indeed resemble a bugle and are borne on a tall spike-like inflorescence.
Not often encountered in British gardens, it has certain prejudices to overcome. In warmer countries it has become invasive and developed a bad reputation. In the United Kingdom and Northern Europe however, where it is frost-tender, there is little danger of it over-running the countryside. It needs to be started in pots under glass and then planted out after the frosts. In warmer urban or coastal locations it can often survive the winter with a good mulch. A covering of grit or sand is often better than leaves or straw which tend to trap water. In all cases it should have a gritty sandy soil to assist drainage. Another reason it has been often over-looked is because its flower is rather subtle and borne somewhat sparsely on the flower-spike. There are many far more showy and ostentatious flowers or cultivar introductions and the humble Watsonia has been largely ignored for horticultural 'improvement'. With so many large blooms clammering for attention, the delicate understated charms of the Watsonia are easily overshadowed. However, when planted with a more restrained palette of colours or in a garden predominently of foliage plants the gem-like quality of its flowers becomes apparent.
Like so many bulbs, the addition of a generous amount of sharp sand or grit when planting ensures the corms won't rot. At the end of each growing season the primary corm is usually subsumed and further corms form around it. Small cormlets are also formed in the axils of the inflorescence.
Watsonia meriana var. bulbillifera is a plant that deserves to be more widely grown in the UK. No more difficult than Dahlias or gladioli they are infinitely more subtle.
These are supplied in 1.5L pots, growing fast.
|Geographical Origin||South Africa|
|Cultivation||Full sun, well-drained soil. Start in pots and plant out after the last frosts|
|Eventual Height||Leaves 60cm; inflorescences 1.5-2m|
|Hardiness||On the tender side, although they survive in an urban or coastal environment if mulched well. Other areas should grow on in pots and plant out after the last danger of frost has passed|
THIS OFFER IS VALID ON ALL OUR STORE ITEMS.