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Transplanting Watsonia bulbs

Published on March 9th 2020
A close up of a flower
If you're a keen indigenous gardener and want to try your hand at growing gorgeous Watsonia bulbs, then dig into these tips and advice by @ernstvanjaarsveld.
Watsonia is a very attractive group that belongs to the Iris family (Iridaceae) and is very easy to grow. There are many types, some growing in winter rainfall regions and others grow during summer and rest in the winter. Then there is also an evergreen group from the southern Cape where the rain is sporadic and can fall at any time of the year.
A close up of a flower
If your Watsonia shows signs of going to rest (leaves starting to yellow and dry out), it shows that your plants need a winter's rest and also gives you the cue that it is a good time to remove the bulbs from the ground and transplant to the desired spot.
You can store the bulbs and plant them again in the spring or plant them immediately in their chosen growing place. In nature, the bulbs remain covered underground so it is, therefore, better to plant them again immediately. However, they are very hardy.
A close up of a pink flower on a plant
Watsonias is a wonderful genus and excellent cut flowers. In the wild, they are naturally 'pruned' by wildfires. There are about 50 species, most of them from the winter rainfall regions of the Western Cape. The group is diverse with larger species growing over the meter high and then the smaller ones that are also good in containers.
Species I recommend growing in the Highveld include Watsonia angusta, Watsonia densiflora and Watsonia pillansii. The former is an evergreen species with red flowers, W. densiflora with pink flowers and W. pillansii with red flowers. The latter bloom during December and especially in dense condition with blue lilies (Agapanthus praecox subsp. minimus), blue or white cultivars.

Red Watsonia

Watsonia angusta

Watsonia densiflora

Watsonia densiflora

Pillans’ Watsonia

Watsonia pillansii

A pink flower on a plant

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