Watsonia: characteristics, care and curiosity

The delicate bulbs of Watsonia (Iridaceae) bloom in midsummer, four months after they are planted. The result allows to obtain in a short time a bright and imposing plant, known for its property of attracting both hummingbirds and pollinating insects. It  is native to South Africa, thrives in warm climates and features around 18-inch long leaves. Above the foliage you can admire the colorful rainbow flowers: orange, red, pink, coral, white or yellow. Although naturally occurring shades were initially reduced, over time breeders have created truly spectacular color combinations! This wide stylistic variety means that the specimens can be used for green spaces or borders for flower beds. But be careful: the low resistance to cold (up to a maximum of + 4 ° C) requires storing the Watsonia indoors in the winter months. This will protect the plant from frostbite. In summer, on the other hand, green light for the creation of decorations and compositions that exploit the slender and original shape of the Watsonia.

How to grow it?

Caring for Watsonia is very simple. Once you have established a sunny and drained area of the garden, it will be possible to place the bulbs at a depth of about 8-10 centimeters. Better to opt for a type of sandy or clayey soil with neutral acidity and a fair amount of humidity. The flower then needs space to blossom in all its beauty; consequently it will be good to space the individual specimens by 10-12 inches (about 30 centimeters) from each other. This will allow you to create harmonious and very colorful compositions, allowing the erect stem to find room for growth. In fact, the average height varies between 30 and 70 centimeters! Finally, Watsonia needs only one care: in the four months preceding flowering it is mandatory to water regularly; after flowering it will be enough to keep the soil moderately moist to avoid stagnation and mold.

How to take care of Watsonia?

Watsonia is an extraordinarily robust plant. Not only is it able to withstand pest attacks, but it can fortify itself with a monthly supply of mineral fertilizer (both in the winter months and throughout the spring). The biggest antagonist of the flower is undoubtedly mold. Being native to South Africa, Watsonia is in fact able to survive even in poorly humid conditions. For this reason, the bulbs are very sensitive to excess water which causes mold and rot in a very short time. Our advice is to recreate the natural habitat of Watsonia without fear of leaving the soil dry and / or fairly humid.

Curiosities about the Watsonia plant: what to know?

Also known as Purple Watsonia or Pink Watsonia, the plant is able to reach a height of over two meters! The rarest specimens in nature are the white ones, while some interesting hybrids – such as the Watsonia Bourbonica – are certainly the most difficult to find. Finally, the Watsonia plant inspired the British male name Watson. Its significance? Powerful warrior. A description that fits perfectly with the elegant and delicate majesty of one of the most renowned summer plants.

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