Scientific nameThis magnificent bulbous plant with tall spikes of rose-pink, trumpet-shaped flowers makes a picturesque display, flowering for up to 4 or 5 weeks - a beautiful garden subject that needs little maintenance.
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, resuming only in the autumn. The plants should flower in their second or third year.
Watsonia borbonica produces offsets (daughter corms) abundantly, and the easiest method of propagation is by division. Clumps can be lifted and divided at any time during the dormant season (December-April) and re-planted in autumn (March-April). After lifting, the corm must be stored in a cool, dry place or re-planted immediately to avoid mealy bug infestation.
Use a well-drained soil, e.g. a mixture of coarse sand and finely milled bark. Corms should be planted at a depth of approximately half their diameter, 40-60 mm deep. In the winter rainfall area the rains begin in autumn (usually around the beginning of April). Pot grown plants should be watered sparingly at this time, and after they have sprouted, the soil should be kept moist but not damp-the corms are not that sensitive to drying out but if kept too wet they may rot. Corms will flower within a few months of planting.
We are in need of this species! Can you help? Maybe you have this species at home, or perhaps you can collect seeds or cuttings (if applicable) from friends or from a public space. If so, why don't you help establish this species in areas where it is much needed!
Conservation status: Least Concern
This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.
Watsonia borbonica is indigenous to: Cape Flats Sand Fynbos