Named after August Ferdinand Von Veltheim (1741-1801) a German patron of botany. Veltheimias are bulbous plants with attractive seasonal foliage and an interesting flower spike.
Water newly planted bulbs sparingly only enough to make the potting mixture barely moist throughout, until some growth appears above the soil surface. Increase the amount, but water moderately and always letting the top half inch of the mixture to dry out between waterings.
Apply a high potash liquid fertilizer at half strength once a month from the time leaves are well developed until they start to yellow.
Veltheimia bulbs are best planted in 5 inch pots half in and half out of the potting mixture in late Summer or early Autumn. No re-potting is needed for at least 2-3 years although an annual late Summer topdressing with fresh mixture is beneficial.
Once the bulb reaches maturity, offsets begin to develop in quantity. Use offsets for propagation in late Summer or early Autumn. Detach offsets with at least a pair of leaves at the same time re-pot the parent bulb, by adding 1 part coarse sand or perlite to 3 parts of soil based potting mixture. Put plenty of fragments in the bottom of the pot. Plant the small new bulb in a 3 inch pot.
Whether growing or dormant Veltheimias need at least 3-4 hours of direct sunlight everyday. Throughout the active growth season they should be given a well ventilated sunny position.
Once all the leaves have died off, let the dormant bulb remain completely dry in its pot until new growth appears.
The first potatoes were cultivated in Peru about 7,000 years ago.