ASK JOHN NEGUS

Coral drops, us­ing ma­nure, amaz­ing mon­ster, cu­ri­ous snails

Amateur Gardening - - This Week In Gardening -

QI have bought some bulbs of Bessera el­e­gans. Please could you tell me how I should grow them? Mr R Bri­er­ley, Sut­ton Cold­field, West Mid­lands

ACom­monly called coral drops, Bessera el­e­gans is a corm-form­ing na­tive of Mex­ico, where it colonises rocky slopes, grass­land and scrub.

Un­less your gar­den is frost-free, grow it at the base of a warm south-fac­ing wall or in a green­house or con­ser­va­tory.

Ide­ally, set the corm in a pot of loam-based John Innes No2 com­post and po­si­tion it in good light. Wa­ter moder­ately when growth is ro­bust, but keep the com­post dry when the leaves die back and also in win­ter.

This plant is eas­ily prop­a­gated by re­mov­ing and pot­ting up the bulb off­sets in au­tumn and win­ter.

With luck, your plants should bear um­bels of up to nine vivid scar­let flow­ers, creamy-white within, from late sum­mer through the au­tumn.

Coral drops orig­i­nates from Mex­ico, but flow­ers well in shel­tered spots in the UK

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