One of the more dainty and exotic bulbs, Bessera elegans is from South America, with red to pink flowers and very attractive. Rarely offered for sale this is a beautiful plant when in flower, from late summer to fall.
Reaching around 1ft in height the coral pink and orange flowers hang nodding high above the foliage. A purple flowering form is also available, however rare in cultivation.
You will find that when you buy the bulbs they look fairly small, however they are well worth the money as the flowers really are fascinating.
Although we grow these bulbs in containers, they are equally at home in the rock garden.
If you follow a few basic rules these are not difficult bulbs to grow. Firstly consider that they are from Mexico into South America and smaller populations in Texas.
So in cultivation for the home garden, if we look at how they grow naturally we quickly understand that they need warmth, good drainage and dry winters.
How to Grow.
- In USDA Zones 10 -11 they can be grown outdoors.
- In cooler zones overwinter indoors or plant is a sunny warm position.
- Use a good quality potting mix or a humus rich well drained soil.
- Plant the Bulbs at around 3 inches deep (8 cm)
- Fertilise when in active growth.
- After the foliage dies back, hold back on watering as they need a dry dormancy.
- If you need to dig them, store them in a cool dry place until early spring.
- The main secret to growing this interesting plant is to give it a dry winter.
- During winter pots are best placed under cover to avoid rain.
- Growing medium needs to be free draining.
- As spring comes around they can be returned to the open.
- Flowering late summer to fall.
Here things become a little difficult, it is suggest that some of the previously named Bessera species actually belong to the Behria species. B.elegans is widely accepted, the others seem debatable.
- Bessera elegans – ‘Coral Drops’.
- Bessera tenuifolia
- Bessera tuitensis
Propagation from seed is not difficult.
However cultivation is easier by division, as they will quickly multiply in the container, it is easier to divide the corms in winter when dormant.
Where to buy
Bessera elegans are available for sale from the following online suppliers.
BRENT and BECKY’S BULBS – Ordering: (877) 661-2852
7900 Daffodil Lane Gloucester, VA 23061