What Is Galtonia Candicans The Summer Hyacinth

The summer hyacinth or galtonia has been grown in gardens for many years. 

Older gardeners perhaps know it as Hyacinthus, formerly called it, but many new gardeners are unfamiliar with this bulb which has always been admired for its beautiful flowers.

Summer HyacinthPin

Galtonia’s Notable Features

Galtonia is a South African bulb belonging to the great family of Liliaceae, but it is not a true lily. The bulb is large and tunicated. 

The fleshy leaves from the base are about 4’ to 6’ feet long and lance-shaped. The round stem which bears the bloom is sometimes as high as 4’ feet. 

About 20 to 30 drooping white bells grow at the branch’s top in a loose cluster from 6” to 12” inches long.

Each flower tube is about 1 ½” inches tall, and the 6 segments are twice as long as the tube and partially united at the base. 

A faint green flush covers the base of each flower tube. Although the flowers are fragrant, this is not usually noticeable.

The best way to grow galtonia is in a loose clump with at least 18” inches between bulbs – the leaves are large and long and must have room.

Moist Soil For Galtonia

A rather moist soil is preferred, but it will do well in any good garden spot. They like the sun but will thrive well in part shade. Pests are almost unknown to galtonia.

Bulbs are planted in the garden like gladiolus from when the ground is warm enough, about April, until the middle of June. 

If the bulbs are set very deep and covered with mulch when cold weather comes, they sometimes survive the winter. 

Drying And Ripening Before Digging

It seems simpler and safer to dig them up as gladiolus are dug, the only difference being that galtonia needs a few weeks of drying and ripening in the sun undercover before being stored in a moderately warm temperature for the winter.

Sometimes the bulbs may flower only 2 years in a row since they prefer to rest in alternating years. 

For blossoms every year, it is wise to set out new stock the second year, too, so that flowers may be had from some of the bulbs each year.

44659 by Sarah V. Coombs