Succulent Gardening: The Art of Nature

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Cyrtanthus oblique

Cyrtanthus obliquus (Knysna lily) is in the Amaryllidaceae family.  It’s An evergreen plant with a large fleshy bulb about the size of an onion that holds strap-shaped upright gray-green leaves that can rise to 12 to 18 inches tall and often have a slight twist toward the rounded tip. In spring or summer appear the stout stalks rising to about the tips of foliage, as tall as 2 feet, topped by a large cluster with 7 to 12, 3-inch-long pendulous tubular orange flowers that flare out and turn yellow at the petal tips. Plant in full sun and water sparingly late spring through early fall. This unusual bulb comes from the winter-dry eastern cape region so soil must be very well drained and the bulb planted with a majority (two-thirds) exposed, particularly if grown outside in our mediterranean winter-rainfall climate. Allow the bulb to almost completely dry out between watering. Ultimate hardiness is not well known but likely it would be best to protect plants from frost. It may be possible to grow this plant in the ground if soil is well drained but likely this plant should be enjoyed as an interesting container plant. It comes from the coastal grasslands from KwaZulu-Natal to Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape Province where is can be found growing in well-drained soils on rocky slopes. It is reportedly the plant used as the floral emblem of the South African Institute of Parks Administration. The name Cyrtanthus comes from the Greek words 'kyrtos' meaning "curve" and 'anthos' meaning "flower" in reference to the curved perianth tube. The specific epithet obliquus means "slanting" or "blunt" and either refers to the way the leaves emerge from the bulb or to the rounded blunt leaf tips. This information came from San Marcos growers
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