Broad-leaf watsonia


Broad-leaf watsonia

Watsonia marginata

Scientific name

Watsonia marginata is a very pretty plant, with attractive foliage and gorgeous spikes of cup-shaped pink or white flowers. It is easily distinguished from other species of Watsonia by both by its leaves and its flowers.

This watsonia is a deciduous, winter-growing, summer-dormant corm. Each corm produces 3 - 4 broadly sword-shaped, bluish-green leaves with pronounced yellowish margins.

It persists in stony clay soils and sometimes in seasonally marshy or temporary seep areas in sandy soils.

The pollinator is the honeybee.

Watsonia marginata is a tough, low maintenance, easy plant in cultivation suitable subject for traffic islands or roadside planting.

Propagation instructions

By seed

Propagation is by seed or division of offsets. Seed is sown in autumn, from April until June, thinly, in deep (min. 10 cm) seed trays, to allow for root development. The soil medium should be well-drained, a recommended mix being 2 parts sand : 2 parts compost : 1 part loam or equal parts sand and compost, and the seeds should be planted 3 - 4 mm deep, covered with clean sand and kept moist and lightly shaded. It is also advisable to protect them from rain during this period. Seed germinates readily within 3 to 4 weeks. Watering should be reduced towards the end of the growing season and withheld completely when they are dormant.

By cutting

The young corms should be lifted at the end of their first season and stored in dry peat in a cool, dry place to prevent rotting, then replanted in March at a depth of one-and-a-half times their size, and spaced 3 cm apart in order to allow sufficient space for the development of the corms. The young plants should flower in their third season. When the corms are being lifted for replanting every 3 to 5 years, the corm clusters can be broken apart and replanted. This should be done during the dormant period (December to April) with replanting done in autumn (March to April).

References and further reading

PlantZAfrica profile »

Wikipedia page »

Image credit: Krzysztof Golik

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Important characteristics

Conservation status: Least Concern

This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.

Drought-resistant

Good potplant

Easy to grow

It provides food for:

Honeybees/flies

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