|South African Clivias blooming near the Queen Anne Cottage|
Enjoy the blooms now and plan for your fall planting. Five of the most popular of the South African bulbs, which do very well in Southern California’s mild winters and dry summers, are Watsonia, Sparaxis, Freesia, Clivia, and Amaryllis. These are from the families of Iridaceae and Amaryllidaceae. Leaves are usually long, cylindrical, strap-shaped. Most like full sun -but some do well in shade. .
Watsonia flowers tall on branched stems with both evergreen and deciduous species, ranging in colors from white to peach to scarlet. Stems and leaves can be large, 2 ½ to 4 or 6 feet long.
Sparaxis is notable for its splashes of contrasting colors on blooms which themselves come in a wide range of colors. They are well-suited to borders and rock gardens and bloom over a long period in late spring.
Freesia are typically white or cream in older varieties with newer hybrids in a wider range of colors. Freesias will dry up after bloom and tend to self-sow if flowers are not removed. Freesias are often prized for their fragrance.
Clivia is an exception to the sunshine rule. While Clivia like light they do not like direct sun. It is a good companion for ferns and other shade-lovers with its brilliant orange and orange-yellow bloom.
Amaryllis, also called Naked Lady or Belladonna Lily, are dormant now but will spring to life come the hot weather of August with fragrant pink blooms. They are drought resistant and tolerate almost any soil. They can take full sun but the blooms will last a bit longer in partial shade.
|Anaryllis bulbs blooming on the northwest side of the Bauer lawn in August of last year.|