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Products > Veltheimia capensis
Veltheimia capensis - Sand Lily

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc.
Family: Hyacinthaceae (~Amaryllidaceae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Flower Color: Light Pink
Bloomtime: Fall/Winter
Height: 1 foot
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Veltheimia capensis (Sand Lily) - This deciduous bulb begins growth in the fall by producing upright blue-gray leaves that have undulating margins that are folded inward at the thickened midrib. At nearly the same time the leaves are coming on, emerge the reddish pink flowers that continue into early winter and are then followed by attractive reddish inflated capsules. Plant in full sun (will not bloom in shade as V. bracteata does) with the upper portion of the bulb exposed in a well-drained soil and irrigate only when leaves are emergent. There is not much cold hardy data on this plant but we know it is hardy to at least 25 F as plants in our garden withstood these temperatures in the January 2007 freeze with 3 nights in a row down to 25 F . Native to sandy, well-drained soils in the drier regions of the Western Cape - through the Karoo, Namaqualand and into Namibia. Our plants from seed we collect from stock plants that have leaves that are particularly narrow and blue-gray. Our original plants from the late Richard Doutt, an Entomologist, bulb grower and author of Cape Bulbs (Timber Press, 1994). We also grow the more evergreen Veltheimia bracteata which grows in light shade in mounds of lush green foliage and is winter to spring 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), honors Count Frederick Augustus von Veltheim (1741-1801) a German patron of Botany. The specific epithet comes from this plant growing in the Cape province of South Africa. The original name given to this plant by Linnaeus in 1770 was Aletris capensis but it was reclassified as Veltheimia capensis by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in 1807. It was introduced into cultivation in England as early as 1768.  Information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We also will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips would aid others in growing Veltheimia capensis.