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Products > Veltheimia capensis
Veltheimia capensis - Sand Lily
Image of Veltheimia capensis
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc.
Family: Hyacinthaceae (~Amaryllidaceae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Flower Color: Light Pink
Bloomtime: Fall/Winter
Synonyms: [Velthemia glauca]
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 with 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.

Veltheimia capensis is native to sandy, well-drained soils in the drier regions of the Western Cape, South Africa and through the Karoo, Namaqualand into Namibia. 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 first introduced into cultivation in England as early as 1768.

Our plants are grown from seed we collect from stock plants that have leaves that are particularly narrow and a blue gray color. These stock plants came to us in 2008 from the late Richard Doutt, an Entomologist, bulb grower and author of Cape Bulbs (Timber Press, 1994), who operated a small bulb nursery in Montecito California called BioQuest International up until his death in 2011. 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 as well as a selected yellow cultivar we call Veltheimia bracteata 'Yellow Comet' and a seedling group of mixed pastel flower colored selections we call Veltheimia bracteata "Pastel Series"

This information about Veltheimia capensis displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.