Watsonia borbonica

A tough South African spring-flowering bulb belonging to the Iridaceae family of plants, this is probably the most commonly seen Watsonia grown in Sydney. It has tall, narrow sword-shaped leaves which grow through winter to about 75cm in height. The flared, funnel-shaped flowers appear towards the end of September and into October, on spikes to 1.5m tall. Flower colours are pink, white and mauve. The bulbs need a sunny, well-drained position which is fairly dry over summer when the bulbs are dormant. They can grow quite well near to deciduous trees, which absorb a lot of the ground moisture during the summer, hence keeping the bulbs dry. The flowering stems can be picked for vases once some of the buds have begun to open. Give them some bulb food occasionally before and after flowering. In general, they are very easy to cultivate and will form thick clumps. They are good companions to some of the warm-climate spring-flowering shrubs which do well in Sydney in sunny spots, such as Brunfelsia, Abutilon, Salvia fallax, Salvia rubiginosum and Loropetalum. They can also be grown nearby to other spring flowers which enjoy a dry sunny position, such as bearded irises, Limonium perezii, perennial wallflowers (Erysimum cultivars), lavenders, and Gazania.

Flowers in September, October.