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Indoor Veltheimia

, Admin

Winter torches, as the magnificent veltheimia is also called by those florists who were lucky enough to become the owner of a unique bulb - these plants are imposing and exotic. In regions with harsh winters, heat-loving and quite capricious beauties cannot be grown in soil. But in room culture veltheimii fully reveal their beauty. Though the care of these plants is not that easy, and they require unique temperature regime, they deserve the leading positions in the list of bulbous exotics. © Wave Hill

Veltheimia Veltheimia torches

Representative of the family Asparagaceae, Veltheimia came to us from the flowering crop-rich flora of South Africa. A century ago, in 20-30s of the twentieth century, veltheimia was considered almost the most popular and fashionable room and greenhouse crop. But after a sharp decline in popularity, the plant went through a period of near oblivion and is only now returning to fashion.

Veltheimia are magnificent bulbous perennials among the large plants whose true size can only be appreciated when grown in soil. But even in room culture, these bulbs conquer with power and their unusual details. The maximum height is about half a meter. Veltheimia form a beautiful rosette of broad-lanceolate, grooved middle veins and wavy-edged leaves. Most often the leaves of the veldheymia are characterized by an unusual grayish color, but in this respect the crop is quite variable.

The beautiful, dense, very original leaves make the veldheymia stand out against any background and are by no means inferior to its blossoms in attractiveness. Unfortunately the plant loses all its greenery during the summer dormancy period, but during the active growth period it will be difficult to find an exotics of equal beauty. But also the active growth phase of the veltheimia is divided and requires correction of conditions: with the first signs of the beginning of growth veltheimia builds up the leaves and it needs a warm environment, but for flowering the plant will have to be placed in a cool environment. Thus, warm and light and cool and dark periods do not coincide in the development of the veltheimia. With classic planting in late summer, the resting period of the veldheymia lasts for most of the summer. The beginning of growth of the plant occurs in September (closer to the third decade).

The inflorescences of veltheimia are most similar to the inflorescences of another star, but this time not an indoor, but a garden one - cniphofia. "Dishwashing sponges", fluffy tails, torches - the shape of such inflorescences is compared to everything else. But veltgeumia is probably best suited to the epithet "winter torch", because this plant blooms during the winter-spring period. The sultans of the inflorescences are dense panicles crowned by stout, purple pedicels up to 50 cm long.

The bright buds of veltheimia transform into paler, various shades of pink, narrowly tubular flowers with short pedicels that hang down slightly. In combination with the darker flower stalk, the flowers look contrasting. The color palette of the plant is limited to pale and bright shades of pink, fuchsia and a muted yellow version. After flowering, veltgeumia (without cutting flower stalks) set triangular, decorated with broad wings, bolls of fruits.

This very beautiful plant is represented by only two species: the very popular Veltheimia capensis (Veltheimia capensis, formerly known as Veltheimia greenflower - Veltheimia viridifolia) and Veltheimia bracteata (Veltheimia bracteata). Both species are very similar to each other. In fact, only the details of the colouring and size of the leaves are differentiated: the leaves of Veltheimia capa are up to 12 cm long, while the leaves of Veltheimia bracteata are up to 30 cm long, the flowers are spotted and pinkish-salade in color.

Indoor Veltheimia
Veltheimia bracteata (Veltheimia bracteata). © Christer T Johansson

Home care of Veltheimia

Veltheimia is not a simple plant at all. And it is no accident that it is recommended to grow in greenhouses and winter gardens. This culture is demanding both to the air temperature (especially to its value in the period of preparation to flowering), and to the light and humidity. But it is impossible to find another bulb blooming in winter and for so long with a more unusual appearance.

Lighting for Veltheimia

This bulb does not tolerate direct sunlight, which significantly damages the leaves (even though they seem to be strikingly powerful and strong). Veltheimia should be provided with diffused bright light. Shading during the flowering stage is undesirable, but light shading during growth and leaf wilting will not harm the plant. During the dormancy period, after the complete loss of leaves and before they begin to regrow, the veltgeum should be kept in the dark.

Optimum locations for Veltheimia are considered eastern and western window sills, but given its flowering only in the cool, it would rather suit locations on a balcony or loggia, in a cool greenhouse, cool heated hallways, patios and verandas with lower temperatures.

Indoor Veltheimia
Veltheimia capensis (Veltheimia capensis). © Greg Lehey

Comfortable temperature conditions

It is because of temperature selection that Veltheimia is most often recommended to be grown not in rooms but in conservatories and greenhouses. After all, the conditions prevailing in a cool winter garden, ideally suited to this culture, is difficult to recreate without your own greenhouse. And it is the requirements to air temperatures that flower growers who are most afraid of, who are looking at veltheymia as a potential exot for their collection.

Veltheymia is a thermophilic crop, but relatively so. The minimum allowable temperature drop for the plant is limited to just 10 degrees of heat. That said, a temperature close to the lower value (about 12 degrees) is needed for the veltheimia to bloom. Room values are acceptable during the dormancy period, and for the period from the time of leaf regrowth to the beginning of flowering. Optimal values are 20-21 degrees.

From about October the temperature values are gradually reduced in order to move the veltheymia to cool in November. And it should bloom in the cool environment (the plant will not produce flower stalks in the warm environment). The more stable will be the indicators, the better.

Complicates the cultivation of indoor veltgeum and dislike of draughts, temperature changes, unstable environment. But she needs constant ventilation: in unventilated rooms, the plant quickly affects diseases. Veltgeum can be taken out into the garden, but only during the period when the night temperatures rise above 10 degrees. Veltheumia are not buried in the soil in the garden; they are displayed in pots and containers, decorating the terrace, recreation areas or flower beds. But the Veltheimia must be cared for very carefully throughout the garden and avoid even the slightest threat of drought.

Indoor Veltheimia
Veltheimia (Veltheimia). © parks-und-gaerten

Watering Veltheimia and humidity

The main task of careful systematic care of Veltheimia is to protect the plant from complete desiccation of the substrate. Procedures are carried out regularly, but very carefully, maintaining a stable light moisture of the soil. Since veltgeumia is extremely afraid of getting the bulb wet, it is better to water this exot over the tray (but if you are careful, you can also do with watering at the edge of the pot). Watering continues until the end of spring or the beginning of leaf desiccation with the same frequency, checking how moist the substrate in the container and how it dries out to prevent dampness and the beginning of mold.

From the beginning of leaf desiccation veltheymia watering more and more rarely, and when the leaves die off completely, stop the procedures at all and do not resume until the first signs of the beginning of growth after the dormancy period. Resumption of watering also carried out slowly and gradually.

Air humidity for veltgeumia do not increase, it well tolerates normal room conditions without correction of these indicators.

Fertilizers for veltgeum

Fertilizers this plant will need only during the phase of active growth: from the moment when the leaves begin to grow vigorously and to the end of flowering for the plant made along with watering complex universal fertilizers. Mixes for beautifully flowering plants are also fine, but will negatively affect the leaves. This bulb is afraid of excess nitrogen even at the time of leaf regrowth.

Digging a Welterweed during its resting phase

Welterweed does not need to be removed from the soil during its resting phase: since it does not need to be replanted every year, it can be left in the substrate during its resting phase and simply stopped watering. And so the veltgeum will not need to be moved to a cool (but only to a dark place). But if it is more convenient for you to dig out of the soil, the bulb should be thoroughly cleaned, inspected, dried and sent to a dark and cool place (like storing any dug up bulbs and tubers).

Weltgeum bracts can also spend the dormancy with leaves, if just slightly restrict watering, stop fertilizing and move the plant to the open air. But more lush flowering is still characteristic of veltheimia that has passed the dry resting phase.

Indoor Veltheimia
Bulb of veltheimia

Transplanting veltheimia and substrate

Light earth mixes are suitable for veltheimia, you can use universal substrates or special soil for bulbs. When mixing independently for the veltgeumia, both the usual mixture of equal parts of sand, leaf and sod soil, and a more complex substrate consisting of 5 parts of sod, 3 parts of greenhouse, 1 part of leaf and half of the sand with a small addition of bone meal will do.

If the bulb is dug from the soil for the dormancy period, in fresh substrate veltgeumia planted to stimulate flowering in different times in the fall. But if you want to admire the winter-spring flowering, it is better to choose the classic option, planting the plant to postpone the last decade of August and the first decade of September.

When preserved in the soil strategy is different. Veltheimia bulbs are transplanted once every 2 years, at the same time when the bulbs are planted - in early September. The next year after transplanting, just replace the top layer of substrate.

When transplanting the plant should be treated very carefully. Take the bulb out of the pot without destroying the clod, then carefully remove the substrate and inspect the roots. All damaged, rotten or dry Veltgeumia roots are cut off, treating the cuts with charcoal and allow them to dry. The offspring of the plant must be separated. Like many bulbs, veltheimia does not tolerate complete burial. Above the surface of the soil should remain a third or half of the bulb. Set it strictly horizontally, taking care not to tilt it.

First time after transplanting the veltgeum will need very careful care. Water carefully, with only a slight moistening of the soil, and only switch to normal care when the plant starts to grow actively.

Boxes for the veltgeum need not be cramped, but quite spacious, which distinguishes this plant from hippeastrums and most indoor bulb exotics. The main thing is that the height of the container should be less than its diameter. If you want, veltheimia can be grown in large and spacious containers, placing several bulbs in one container. But it is better not to experiment with adult veltheimia in this way: planting "in a group" is more suitable for daughter bulbs, which should be grown separately for several years before flowering. For young bulbs, pots can be selected by multiplying in two the diameter of the bulb itself.

Indoor Veltheimia
Veltheimia bracteata. © Rotational

Diseases and pests of Veltheimia

Fungal diseases and all kinds of mold are the most dangerous for Veltheimia, threatening the plant if the substrate is too wet or if careless watering soaks the bulb. Drying out the substrate will help to cure the problem if it is quickly discovered, but complete drying out is not desirable for Veltheimia in its active stage (it can cause wilted leaves or no flowering).

Aphids are the most troublesome pests of Veltheimia, which are better dealt with by insecticides.

Propagation of Veltheimia

The easiest way to increase your collection of "winter torches" is to separate the daughter bulb when transplanting. During root inspection, the offspring is separated from the mother plant and planted in low pots or small pots, taking care of it in the same way as the adult veltgeum.

The plant sets seeds only with artificial pollination, germination is long and requires temperature and humidity control (21 degrees and at least 75% humidity). Veltheimia, obtained from seed, blossom only in 3-4 years, but because of the difficulty of handling young plants, the seed method is most often used only for industrial purposes.