This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
This is one of the rare flowers, seldom successfully treated by amateurs; with me it blossomed finely this Spring. As it may be of interest I will give my method of treatment.
It will hardly be necessary to state that the Veltheimia is a bulbous plant; I procured my bulbs in the Fall of 1876, planted them in October, in pots of good, rich, moderately light loam, without drainage, planting them so the neck of the bulb extended one half inch above the surface of the soil. The pots were then placed in a cool, shady situation, where they remained until the first of December, when they were placed so as to receive all the sunlight and heat possible; by this time the foliage had commenced to grow, and made a most luxuriant growth by May, but no sign of flowering. In June the foliage commencing to ripen, I dried it off. After the middle of June it received no water, the bulb remaining undisturbed in the pot. In October, noticing signs of life, I shook out most of the soil, replacing it with fresh soil of like nature; water was given moderatey and by the first of January 1878, it had made a fine start. From this time on it was given all the sunlight and heat possible, but no artificial heat.
About the first of February buds appeared, they made a slow growth, coming into bloom in May. The flowers lasted three weeks, and then being half withered were removed so as not to exhaust the bulb.
The foliage is magnificent, broadly lanceolate in shape, about nine inches long by two and a half inches wide, in color a rich emerald green, shining as though freshly varnished; the margins are undulated, radical leaves without petioles. The flower stem grows from ten to eighteen inches high, about two-thirds of an inch in diameter, color light green, heavily marked dark purple. The blossoms are borne in an umbel at the extremity of the stem; they are drooping, tubular in shape, about two inches long. The umbel is composed of from twelve to fifty florets; there were forty-three in the specimen I flowered. In color they are a peculiar salmon pink, hard to describe, the tips of the florets being a light green.
At a light glance they are frequently taken for a new variety of the Tritoma. There are no bulbs of the Veltheimia for sale in the United States that I am aware of, and only two or three firms offer them for sale in Europe. I noticed a new variety known as V. glauca, offered by one firm in Prussia last Fall. The bulbs are worth from $1.50 to $3.00 each, according to size. Bulbs of V. viridiflora are worth $1.50 to $2.50 each according to size.