Veltheimia bracteata

Veltheimia bracteata – Forest Lily

Dense raceme of tubular pink flowers on a long stem, above glossy wavy-edged strap-like basal rosette.


This is a winter growing bulbous plant, flowering in spring to a height of 60cm before a brief period of summer dormancy. The basal rosette is made up of handsome glossy green, fleshy leaves that are broadly strap-shaped with wavy margins. It has the distinct advantage of doing well in shade, though it does not flower well in dense shade. It is in the Hyacinth family (Hyacinthaceae) – It is not a Lily. Flower colour is variable and there is a white form.


Veltheimia bracteata can be found growing wild in the forests and coastal scrub of the Eastern Cape. The genus Veltheimia is named after the German botanist, August Ferdinand Graf von Veltheim (1741-1801).

Soil / Aspect:

V. bracteata grows well in shade or semi-shade, doing best in acid to neutral, humus-rich, well-drained loamy soil. It will not be affected by light frost. The bulb sits high, with its neck out of the soil, like the Hyacinth that it is.


V. bracteata does not seem to be affected by any pests in our garden. It does not like being moved and is best left undisturbed for many years. It will benefit from some liquid fertiliser in spring. One of the joys of this plant is that it requires so little, yet grows in shade and provides interest in winter through spring.