Rhodohypoxis ‘Great Scot’ A.M.

This cultivar will ranks as the best, red-flowered cultivar amongst this renowned genus. Rhodohypoxis flower from late spring right through the summer and are native to the Drakensberg Mts of Lesotho, producing congested clumps of corm-like structures which I have found over a period of some 30 years, prefer to have a dryish to dry, winter dormancy. R.’Great Scot’ has relatively small flowers (by comparison to such cultivars as ‘Pictus’ and ‘Albrighton’) but they are a strong, bright red colour. The name was given by the famous grower of this genus, the late Ruth McConnel. It is said that the name arose when Ruth’s husband, noticed the stunning red colour of her new seedling and exclaimed “Great Scot)!

As to hardiness – if the plants are grown in the open garden and a long hard spell of winter hits the soil when it is wet, the result will be fatal for over-wintering corms. I prefer to grow all Rhodohypoxis in troughs where the soil can be tailored to their requirements, while the troughs can also be lifted into a shed or protected in a practical way from the severity of the winter. A word of warning! During the dormant period, the over-wintering corms are a favoured diet of mice. Many gardeners grow the corms in mesh pots and transfer them from the cold frame into the garden and then reverse the process.

I would reduce watering the chosen containers from late August onwards and the troughs can then be lifted into a shed in late October/November. They will be left alone until January/February when established clumps can be lifted and carefully teased apart (some authorities prefer to divide clumps as they come to the end of their growing season in late July), however I prefer to carry this out whilst dormant. The largest corms can be placed in a trough consisting of an ericaceous, moisture-retentive mix with a percentage of soil. I would place the corms some 6cm below the surface and cover the soil with a generous layer of washed gravel. As the plants break into growth, watering can commence and the troughs should not be allowed to dry out completely. They can be removed from their place of protection and returned to the open garden in early April (according to the weather). During the growing season established clumps can be given an occasional feed of “Tomorite” (or an alternative tomato feed) to bulk up the corms. Other cultivars which I can recommend to compliment ‘Great Scot’, include: RR. ‘Pictus’, Albrighton, ‘Fred Broome’, ‘Ruth’, ‘Harlequin’ and the two species, R. milloides and R. baurii var. confecta.