Our Plants

December Plant Highlight: Veltheimia capensis

by Brian Kemble

  Image of V. capensis   Image of V. capensis flower  

Among the many wonderful bulbs from South Africa is the small genus Veltheimia, with only two species.  One of these is Veltheimia capensis (syn. V. glauca, V. deasii), from the winter-rainfall region in the western part of South Africa.  It is dormant during the summer months, and puts out new leaves in the fall.  Soon after, it comes into flower, sporting dense conical heads of tubular flowers, rising to a height of about 1 – 1½ feet (30 – 45 cm).

The flower color ranges from pale pink to pinkish-red, often with greenish or off-white or purplish tips.  On close inspection it can be seen that the color on the flowers is speckled rather than solid.  After the flowers are finished, the pinkish seed pods are attractive in their own right.

The leaves of V. capensis are blue-green to blue-gray in color and up to about a foot long (30 cm).  They have undulating margins that give an ornamental ruffled appearance to the plant.

The other species in this genus is V. bracteata (syn. V. viridifolia), which is more common in cultivation.  It comes from farther east in South Africa, has shiny-green leaves and is more prone to clumping.  It prefers light shade, while V. capensis needs plenty of sun.

Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.
Centennial Celebration
We are celebrating Garden Founder Ruth Bancroft's 100th year throughout 2009. If you would like to get involved in this historic milestone, you can help by contributing to the Centennial Fund or by attending on of our many special events this year.
Grant Funders
The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s position, and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our Volunteer Coordinator’s position, as well as for their generous support over the years.
The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy