Mexican native perennial Sprekelia formosissima

Credit: David Tarrant


One of the places I visit quite regularly here in San Miguel de Allende is El Charco del Ingenio or local Jardin Botanico, their major collections being succulent plants. However dotted among the collection are some delightful seasonal surprises like these beautiful Sprekelia formosissima.

When I was training in horticulture in England this was one of the unusual bulbous perennials found in pots in old temporate conservatories. It is indeed native to Mexico and Guatemala where it apparently grows on rocky slopes. Here in El Charco it is nestled amongst their Agave collection, growing in very well-drained soil.

We had a couple of good rainy days last week (the first since October!) that encouraged these beauties to bloom. If you have a cool greenhouse or glass-covered back porch, try growing
some in a container, preferably an old-fashioned terra-cotta pot.

The bulbs will be available in specialty garden stores in the fall. Treat them as you would hippeastrums, planting them in good potting mix with the necks of the bulbs just peeking above the surface. Keep them in full light and as growth appears water regularly. They will bloom in
early spring, As with hippeastrums keep the foliage growing healthily for a good couple of months feeding every two weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer. This will ensure good blooms the following season During summer store them in full light but keep them dry. Start watering
them again in mid fall and repot every two years.

To learn more about El Charco click here.