How to Grow A Watsonia Plant

Watsonia Growing Care Notes

Watsonia Bulbs How To Grow And Take Care Of Watsonia’s

Watsonia Lilac Towers How to Grow and Divide A Watsonia Plant Watsonia or bulge lily belongs to the Iris family and subfamily Crocoideae. They are native of South Africa. They are used in Australia as a garden ornamental plant. There are over 50 varieties of Watsonia and they grow from the corms. Watsonia flowers are found in most of the states in Australia and the wild varieties thrive in swampy areas with heavier soils.


The Watsonia plants are perennial herbs that grow from corms. The flowering bulbs produce strap or reed like foliage with slender red coloured flowering stems that are 0.5 to 2m in height. The flowers of the plant are very delicate and are seen in orange, peach, pink, white and red hues. These plants bloom in mid November around early summer displaying brightly coloured flowers that attract birds and pollinating insects. The trumpet shaped and curved flowers rise from the sword like leaves that grow about 18 inches long. The flowers will rise above a foot over the foliage. The blooms will last for many weeks and are about 3 inches long. The maroon to red coloured stems of Watsonia’s can bear from 10 to 15 flowers on the main axis. The corms of the Watsonia are about 8 cm in diameter and look like a gladioli bulb but smaller. They are neatly enclosed in a thick and dark brown coloured fibrous outer tunic and has a single disc shaped appendage at its base. Every year, one or sometimes two to three new corms develop over the old corm.

Growing Watsonia Corms

It is not difficult to grow Watsonia corms. They will thrive in a well drained soil with full sun exposure. The best time to plant the Watsonia bulb is during the autumn.

  • You should prepare a garden bed adding a good amount of compost and spreading it in the soil at a depth of 6 inches.
  • The Watsonia corms need to be buried in the soil 4 to 5 inches deep, and each of the corms has to be spaced at least 4 inches apart.
  • The soil must be used to cover the corms and then make sure that you pack the corms down lightly.

If you are planting the Watsonia corms in a soil that does not drain well, then there is every chance for the corm to rot. It requires little water during summer and grow best with wet winters and will grow well in sandy and heavier soils as long as the soil is well drained.

Growing Watsonia from Division

It is necessary to divide the Watsonia clumps after a few years in order to encourage blooming. The clump has to be dug up during late summer to autumn season and cut into many sections depending on the size of the clump. You should make sure that the divided portions have healthy roots and corms. Replant them in the soil and each corm has to be placed 4 inches or more apart. The bulge lily will bloom lightly during the first year and will show thick blooming from the next season.

Varieties Of Watsonia’s To Grow

Watsonia Ivory Towers – White tall and very impressive plants when in full bloom grown in a clump

Watsonia Lilac Towers – (photo) lovely shade of pink very tall and striking.

Watsonia Wedding Bells – This one has tones of pink narrow tubular flowers, this variety flowers two weeks before the top two varieties along with another coral red tubular variety (watsonia aletroides) that I also have growing in my garden.

Care for Watsonia’s

It is important to provide the Watsonia with supplemental watering during the growing period. You should keep the soil a bit moist when the plants are actively growing. The spent blooms need to be cut off after the flowering season. Allow the green leaves to gather on the plant. Use an organic bulb fertiliser to fertilise the plant during spring. The leaves and stem can be cut back after the flowering period.


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