The bulbous perennial plant Galtonia, also called the cape hyacinth, is a member of the lily family. Its native land is the Cape of Good Hope. Galtonia was named after the English explorer of the flora of South Africa, Francis Galton. In Europe this flower has been grown as a late bloomer since the seventies of the 19th century. There are 4 species of galtonia in nature, but gardeners mostly grow only 1, the whitish or whitish galtonia.
Features of galtonia
Heights of galtonia can vary from 0.5 to 1.5 m. The large cone-shaped bulbs have a concave bottom. Leaf laminae are glabrous succulent ground-ribbed, strap-shaped.
The flower stalk is about 100 centimeters tall and bears a loose tassel-like inflorescence composed of white drooping flowers with a tube-like, funnel-shaped perianth. Flowering occurs in August and September. The fruit is a weakly ribbed, cylindrical, three-nested capsule. Inside the boll is a large number of irregularly triangular and black seeds.
Haltonia planting in the open air
What time to plant
To ensure that the haltonia grows and develops normally in the garden, you must be guided by the natural conditions that are usual for it. Thus, in the winter time it is cold and dry in the Caspian Mountains, and in the summer time it is moist and warm. In this regard, to plant this plant you should find an area where meltwater does not stagnate in the spring. If possible, plant your Haltonya on a sunny stony slope in the southern part of the garden.
This flower can be grown both in a well-lit and in a shaded area. The soil should be light, slightly acidic, well-drained and deeply cultivated, and humus should always be added.
Spring planting should only be done in the springtime when the soil is well warmed (from the last days of March to May). If you wish, you can control the flowering time of this plant. To do this, the bulbs can be planted a little earlier or later.
And you can also control the flowering time by how deep you bury the bulb.
How to plant in the ground properly
Pick your bulbs in the store and look them over carefully. Remember that there should be no mold, rot, or signs of softening on the bottom. As for the bulb, it must be firm and hard. Before planting the bulbs they can be sprouted, in which case they will bloom 4 weeks earlier.
In April the bulbs should be placed in a warm and well-lit room. First they are treated with a solution of fungicide, and then placed in a very well-lit place, but do not forget to protect the planting material from direct sunlight. When the sprouts appear, the bulbs will need to be planted in pots, which should have holes for drainage. Use loose garden soil for planting. Do not forget to water the planted bulbs from time to time.
Planting these bulbs in the open soil should be done in May and the plants should be planted with a root ball.
The depth to which the bulb should be planted depends on its size (larger bulbs should be planted deeper) and can vary from 18 to 22 centimetres. The distance between bushes in the row should be 0.3 m. If no drainage has been laid under the top layer of soil, one handful of coarse sand should be poured into each hole immediately before planting.
Also do not forget to pour into it a complex mineral fertilizer. If you did not add any organics to the soil during digging, you should also add a handful of compost or humus to each hole.
The planted plants need plenty of water.
Garden care for Haltonia
Although it is an exotic plant from the African continent, it is quite easy to care for in the medium latitude. Like most other garden plants, it will need timely watering, weeding, feeding and not forgetting to loosen the soil surface.
During the period of active growth, this plant should be watered abundantly, 24 hours after it should be loosened and all the weeds should be pulled out at the same time. During the flowering period, watering should be less abundant.
For the whole vegetation period, the Haltonia needs only 1 or 2 feedings, using a mineral fertilizer for flowering plants. In some cases taller flower stems need to be tied to a pole. When all the flowers have wilted, cut them back so that they do not take away from the bulb.
This flower can be grown in the same place for 4 or 5 years and will form dense thickets.
Diseases and pests
If it was well drained when planted, it will be well protected against fungal diseases. If the weather is wet, snails and slugs can cause damage. For preventive purposes, it is recommended to sprinkle wood ash on the surface of the site. If you do see gastropods on the bushes, pick them up by hand.
Galtonia is moderately frost-resistant. So if you live in a region with rather mild winters you may not dig out the bulbs for the winter but cover them with a thick (15 to 20 centimeters) layer of peat or sawdust and cover with dried leaves or spruce twigs. To prepare the bulbs for winter, choose a dry day.
If the winter in the region where the bulb grows is frosty or with little snow, the bulbs should be taken out of the soil in the last days of October or first days of November. They should be dried in a well-ventilated room for 7 days and the foliage should not be cut off.
When the bulbs have dried, cut the leaves to a height of 20 mm from the neck of the bulb, the roots should not be removed. Then leave the bulbs to dry for another 1-1.5 weeks at room temperature. After that they are buried in dry sand or peat so that they do not touch each other, and put in a cool dry place (10 to 15 degrees) for storage. If there are few bulbs, they can be kept in the refrigerator by placing them on the vegetable shelf, but note that they can get damp there.
In spring, before planting the galtonia in the open soil, you can separate the bulb nests.
Haltonia species and varieties with photos and names
Haltonia whitish (Galtonia candicans) or Galtonia whitish (Hyacinthus candicans)
This perennial plant does not exceed 150 centimeters in height. The bulbs are about 7 centimeters in diameter and covered with a large number of dry, filmy scales. Root leaf plates of dark green color are grooved strap-shaped and linear, 4-6 of them grow on one bush. The leaves are 0.
9 meters long and 8 centimeters wide. Their appearance is similar to that of hyacinth leaves. The brush-like inflorescences are composed of tubular-crown-shaped, drooping, fragrant white flowers, which are 60 mm long and 30 mm in diameter. Flowering occurs in August and September. The fruit is a trihedral box with seeds.
Haltonia superior (Galtonia princeps = Hyacinthus princeps)
In nature, this species is found in the subtropical region of South Africa, and it can grow up to 1000 meters above sea level. This plant prefers to grow among the motley grasses. The shrub is about 100 centimeters tall. The cone-shaped bulb is 30-40 mm in diameter and is covered with fibrous scales. The short, brush-like inflorescence contains 10 to 15 white drooping flowers, which are slightly greenish on the outside.
Flowers reach a length of 35 mm. Blossoms in September. This species is relatively rarely cultivated.
Galtonia viridiflora (Galtonia viridiflora)
This species is noted for its heat-loving nature. The bulbs of such a plant in the fall must always be removed from the soil and stored in a cool and dry room.
You can save the bulbs by planting them in pots. The height of the bush is about 100 centimeters. On each of its shoots there are 10-30 green-emerald flowers. If such a galtonia is grown at home, its flower stalks will be lower.
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