Watsonia Growing Instructions

Watsonia are big, graceful plants, with tall stems and pink trumpet-shaped flowers that stand up to wind and cool temperatures, thriving in foggy microclimates. Most gardeners know about Gladiolas, but most don't know about Watsonia, Glad's harder to find cousin. The spring-blooming Watsonias are hardy to 10° F.  Watsonia's an easy to grow plant that doesn't need rich soil, fertilizer, or insecticides. Sunshine and occasional water is all that is needed.

Plant at the back of a border, where their tall 5 foot flower stalks tower gracefully over other plants, or grow them is behind a hedge, or mix them into a narrow border with other similar height shrubs or tall perennials. Grows well in USDA Zones 8-10 and in Zone 7 with some winter protection.

Does very well along the West Coast from Oregon to California, Arizona to Texas, and the Gulf States to Georgia.  A perfect plant for busy or inexperienced gardeners, or collectors of rare plants.  Watsonias also make great cut flowers and great container plants.

Watsonia corms/bulbs are available only from Mid August through December. 

Planting: Plant in well draining soil.  If water has not drained from soil surface 5-6 hours after a hard rain, mound soil by amending the soil with peat moss, compost, ground bark, or well rotted manure.  Plant in full or 3/4 day sun. Plant the watsonia corms 4" deep and 4"-6" apart with the small point facing up. After planting, water to settle the soil around corm. The corm will sprout in the autumn and flowers will develop in the spring.

After blooming has finished, cut the flower stalks and leave the foliage to strengthen the bulb for next year. Water no more than 1" per week in hotter inland areas and less, or not at all in cooler summer areas along the coast. After weeks of eye catching late spring bloom, Watsonia will die back in early summer.  No need to water them after they bloom. They are truly drought-tolerant plants! At the end of the summer the leaves will die back and the plant goes dormancy. Remove all foliage now.

 Your watsonia will remain dormant until the next growing cycle starts in autumn.                                    


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