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Sandersonia

Sandersonia is a plant genus native to South Africa and Swaziland, part of the family Colchicaceae. It has only one species, Sandersonia aurantiaca. It is also called Christmas bells, Golden lily of the valley or Chinese lantern lily or Chinese lantern bulb. The flowers are yellow or orange.

Care

  • Sandersonia enjoy sandy soil rich with compost but well drained. They enjoy full sun, but not excessive heat. If heat is excessive, they will require more watering. They are delicate against being bumped or stepped on. They like to grow upwards and should be staked. They die back naturally at the end of the season
  • Sandersonia requires a well drained and well aerated, , well-decomposed acid compost, and coarse river sand. Deep pots with a diameter of 25 cm are recommended, and a 2-3 cm layer of stone chips should be placed over the holes to improve drainage. Two thirds of the pot should be filled with growing medium and a strong narrow stake placed in the center, which the delicate stems can be tied.
  • Containers should be watered well, and then not again until the leaf shoots appear, after which a thorough soaking once per week is recommended. The containers should be placed in positions receiving morning sun and afternoon shade, or bright light for as much of the day as possible
  • The flowering time of Sandersonia in the wild is mid-December to January, but under cultivation in southern Africa it tends to start earlier, from late November onwards.

Uses and cultural aspects

The roots of Sandersonia have traditionally been used by the Zulu people as an aphrodisiac, and the leaves are also used in combination with other plants in bathing infusions as protection against evil.