Prepared corms are heat treated to mimic the hot dry South African. These are available in spring for flowering in July and August but will only flower at this time for one season. Plant 5cm (2in) deep in April, in moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Site in a sunny, sheltered spot with twiggy sticks or wire for support.
Unprepared corms: Available late summer for planting outdoors in August or September. Only suitable for very mild districts with very little frost and these corms can remain in-situ to flower in spring the following year.
Indoor or greenhouse planting
Indoors, corms will flower from January to April if planted between August and December. An October planting should under ideal conditions, flower in March for a period of four to five weeks.
- Pot using two-thirds John Innes No2 and one-third grit
- Space corms 5-8cm (2-3in) apart with the tips of the corms just above the soil level
- Water after planting and place in a cool, frost-free area such as a cold frame, at 5°C (41°F) for three to four weeks
- Transfer pots to a cool greenhouse or similar situation and maintain at 10-15°C (50-60°F) throughout winter
- Provide as much light and ventilation as possible and don’t allow the plants to dry out
- Support new growth with twigs or wire mesh as stems develop
- Apply a high potassium feed fortnightly from when the first buds are seen
- After flowering cut off faded blooms and continue to water and feed until the foliage begins to brown, then cease watering. A period of at least eight weeks of growth is required to encourage offsets. If growing on for a second year the foliage needs to dry off by early July
- After lifting, a dry, warm period simulating the dry South African summer is required to ripen the corms. Maintain corms at 30°C (85°F) for three months either on a sunny windowsill or airing cupboard. Without this the corms may remain dormant for some time after replanting before beginning sporadic, slow growth