Boophone haemanthoides F.M.Leight.
Namaqua Century Plant, Cape Century Plant
Boophone haemanthoides is a deciduous winter-growing and summer-flowering geophyte that grows up to 20 inches (50 cm) tall from a large egg-shaped bulb. It produces a spreading fan of up to 20 strap-shaped intensely glaucous leaves arranged in 2 opposite rows. A great deal of the bulb can be seen above ground. The leaf surfaces are flat or channeled. The leaf margins vary considerably from straight to wavy. The dense, brush-like flower head emerges from the center of the bulb in summer after the leaves have died back. The umbel is enclosed by two oval-shaped bracts and is carried on a thick, maroon, pinkish brown, or yellow stem. The sweet-scented flowers are initially white, cream-colored, or light yellow, aging to a dull pink.
USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 45 °F (+7.2 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Namaqua Century Plant is a striking plant for a large pot and also makes a handsome feature planted in bold groups in rock garden pockets. It is important to note that the bulbs are highly sensitive to excess moisture during the winter growing period and require a dry summer period when they are dormant.
These plants do not survive for long outdoors when planted in high rainfall areas. They require high light intensity to grow well, preferring full sun for as much of the day as possible. A pot at least 16 inches (40 cm) deep is needed for a mature bulb. When displayed as a pot subject, it performs well when placed on a sunny patio.
Grow the bulbs in sandy, well-drained soil mixtures, such as equal parts of washed industrial sand and river sand. When planting Namaqua Century Plant, make sure that at least 2/3 of the bulb is above ground level.
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