A genus of about 10 species, from southern Africa. These are winter-growing, summer-dormant bulbs. The flowers are clustered together in a ball. In the dwarf species these are 15cm across, but the biggest species are larger than a football.

We grow them under frost-free glass, in full sun. In warmer climates they may be temperature hardy, but watering will need management. Ours are in a well-drained, loam-based mix. Never, ever, use peat-based or soil-less composts, these need replacing too often and the bulbs dislike disturbance (for this same reason they will probably sulk for a year or two after we send them to you). We feed every watering - we water infrequently, so there are only so many chances to feed !

Give a dry summer rest, then re-water in autumn when flowers may be expected, grow them through the autumn and winter and dry off again in July. Good air-circulation in winter will avoid fungal rots on the leaves. (If this makes them sound difficult, I would say that it is good advice for all wintergreen under glass in the UK).

Available for ordering from Spring and Autumn lists.

Brunsvigia striata

(minor, humilis, nervosa) Brunsvigia striata

A superb plant and one of the best of the smaller species. It makes compact, tidy growth with the overlapping leaves pressed flat to the soil surface. These are rounded and have a bright red margin, which is tough and leathery. In our form the foliage is dark green, somewhat striated, with a double row of red-brown bristles at the margins.

The flowers are held in a compact umbel on a short stem above the ground. Individual flowers are a good size and they are bright pink with dark anthers. They are very attractive and have a highly evolved, zygomorphic shape. The compact habit makes them an excellent pot subject for growing under glass (like all Brunsvigia this is not hardy in the UK). A fertile, well-drained, loam-based compost is needed.

In the wild this is found both in winter-rainfall areas (mostly) but also in summer rainfall areas. It is spread from the westerly Cape provinces, across the Karoo as far as the E. Cape.

Photograph Dennis Tsang, with many thanks.

Brunsvigia striatabrustrstr 15.50
4 years old from seed, only about 1cm across but these will flower with 2 more years of decent growing