FloraStar judges have announced two winners of new varieties from South Africa. The two winners are lachenalia 'Namakwa' and lachenalia 'Rupert', both from the African Beauty Series by Vosbol International.
Vosbol International is a South African trading company that works through Labolia, a nursery specializing in breeding lachenalia bulbs. It exports the bulbs throughout the world to dry bulb companies and pot plant growers. The lachenalia has been sporadically grown in North America for several years, but this is the first time it has been in commercial production.
Lachenalia is native to South Africa, where it grows in the wild in a large part of the Cape province. It was first collected in 1652 by explorers for the VOC (the Dutch East India Company), who took the plant back to Europe, where it was extremely valuable and coveted by wealthy collectors.
The species mainly comes from the winter rainfall region and naturally undergoes a long dormant period over summer, making it very suitable for export. All lachenalias are marketed under the trade name CapeHyacinths. They are suitable for both indoors and outdoors as balcony, patio or garden plants, but cannot withstand frost.
Rupert is a hybrid produced by the ARC-Roodeplaat Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute in Pretoria, South Africa. It has blue and purple flowers. Namakwa has a yellow ocher with a purple flower rim, which begins reddish-brown. Both plants have tiger print leaves and stems. Both have an early flowering period and flower for 2-3 weeks.