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Products > Veltheimia bracteata
Veltheimia bracteata - Forest Lily
Image of Veltheimia bracteata
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc.
Family: Hyacinthaceae (~Amaryllidaceae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Flower Color: Light Pink
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Synonyms: [Veltheimia viridifolia]
Height: 1 foot
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Light Shade/Part Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Veltheimia bracteata (Forest Lily) - A South African semi-deciduous winter growing bulb that produces a dozen or so glossy green leaves that are 1 foot to 18 inches long and 3 inches wide with wavy margins. In late winter and early spring appear the pale rose-pink tubular flowers, upright and green tipped in bud and dangling downward when open, on 1-2 foot tall fleshy stalks, somewhat similar to those of red hot poker plants (Kniphofia). Flowers are followed by large 3-winged papery capsules that are unusually attractive in their own right. Grow in light shade, water regularly to occasionally - actually pretty drought tolerant if allowed to go dormant. A great plant for the shade garden - can be nearly evergreen in summer months if watered but will rot if soil does not drain well with this treatment - best to allow to dry out in summer with new foliage coming on in fall. This is a pretty carefree and easy plant for us to grow outdoors in shaded areas with occasional to infrequent to no irrigation in our mediterranean climate. The New York Botanical Garden Encyclopedia of Horticulture does give a recommendation for growing this plant indoors in other climates, noting that "Veltheimias are not tropical. When grown indoors they give best results if the temperature from fall to spring at night is 50 to 55 F and by day does not exceed that by more than five to fifteen degrees, according to the brightness of the weather. During the period of summer dormancy the soil is kept dry. Watering is resumed at the first sign of new growth and is done to keep the soil moderately and evenly moist until, in late spring, the foliage begins to show signs of yellowing." Veltheimia bracteata comes from a wide area of the Cape area and in Namaqualand where it grows on rocky slopes. We also grow the fully deciduous Veltheimia capensis which grows in full sun with attractive undulating gray leaves and is fall to winter flowering. The genus, first published in 1771 by German botanist Johann Gottlieb Gleditsch (1714-1786), who honored himself with the naming of the genus of the Locust trees (Gleditsia), was named to honor Count Frederick Augustus von Veltheim (1741-1801) a German patron of Botany. This plant was long called Veltheimia viridifolia (meaning green leaves), a name given the plant in 1797 by the Dutch scientist and medical doctor Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin, but this species and a plant called Velthemia undulata was subsumed into Veltheimia bracteata as described by William Harvey in 1871.  The information about Veltheimia bracteata displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.