Only three species in this group, Boophone disticha, Boophone haemanthoides and the rare Boophone ernestii-ruschii recently reclassified as as a sub species of B. haemanthoides.
These are South African bulbs that are grown for the striking fan shaped foliage, they add a real architectural statement when grown in a pot or container and look equally impressive when grown in the ground.
Flowers are paintbrush like and appear before the foliage. However it is the decorative foliage that attracts most growers.
All species require very well drained soil, and a sunny position. They need a large container as they do develop a very large root system for their size.
How to Grow Boophone disticha
B. disticha is a deciduous plant that develops fascinating fan like foliage, flowers vary from light pink to red and are fragrant. Plants are best left undisturbed if you are trying to encourage flowers. Frost needs to be avoided.
Care and Growing Conditions
- Growing Position
Naturally growing gravely, rocky to sandy soils it is drought tolerant and grows well in full sun, however it does not tolerate frosts, so a protected position is required.
Use a cactus and succulent potting mix, or a normal potting mix with around 50% extra drainage material such as pumice, horticultural grit, gravel or perlite mixed through.
During its summer growing season a wet dry watering regime is required, water once and then allow the soil to dry before watering again. If in doubt, under water rather than over water. Yellowing leaves are a sure sign of over watering.
Once the leaves do die back in late summer, stop watering almost completely, maybe light watering every 3 – 4 weeks. Just enough water to stop the soil from desiccating.
Full sun during winter months, in cool to temperate climates, full sun year round, in hotter climates some afternoon shade in summer months.
Try for warm days and cool nights for optimal growth.
Do not fertilise after the end of winter until autumn/fall and then only a little slow release general purpose fertiliser.
Wait until the plant has outgrown the pot or the potting mix is degrading. The best time to repot is in spring as the plant commences to come out of dormancy.
When replanting the neck of the bulb should be above soil level. Repot into moist, but not wet soil.
B. haemanthoides has a similar growth habit, however, this is a winter growing species and needs a low winter rainfall as well. The foliage is larger and has a wavy habit, still fan like. Boophone sp. ernst ruschii is a rare newly discovered species that comes from a winter rainfall area in Namibia
- South African bulb.
- Grown for the architectural look of the fan shaped foliage.
- Requires excellent drainage.
- Requires water in summer and a dry winter.
- Best grown in pots so that moisture can be controlled.
- Flowers are large and pink to red in colour.