Impala lily - Adenium Multiflorum .
Small to medium sized succulent shrub , up to 3x3 m in ideal conditions , but around 50cm to 1m elsewhere .
Deciduous during winter , when it flowers .
Hardy to drought and heat , but not a high moisture content in the soil or cold .
Extremely slow growing , around 10-20cm per year .
Choosing a specimen -
These plants grow very very slowly , sometimes looking as if there is no growth for the first 2 years etc , so try buy the biggest you can transport , and the pocket can handle .
A single stemmed lily of about 30-40 cm high will not grow upwards initially , but will sprout numerous small stems at the base and grow in this manner .
If you can get a slightly bigger plant with many stems , then even better .
Use in the garden -
Pot plant with stunning flowers in winter , and the occasional surprise flowering in summer .
Natural habitat -
Lowveld and Nothern Kwazulu .
Planting in the garden , in areas other than there Natural distribution -
Plant along a north or west facing wall in a succulents rockery that gets afternoon sun in winter .
Build a drainage system into the rockery by creating a hole/pot above ground level formed by rocks .
Fill the base of this with coarse river sand to create a drainage medium .
Plant the impala lily above this , using a combination of compost , soil and river sand .
Plant at the same level as it was in the bag , or if you are not sure make sure the thickest part of the bulge is level with the ground .
Make sure that the rocks are still higher than the base of the plant , all around it ,to give it warmth and protection during winter .
I have planted 3 Impala lillys this way , and they have survived 2 winters , I do not water this during winter , and will water once a week if there is no rainfall during the hotter months .
Planting in a pot -
This is the most successful method to keep impala lillys , as you can move the plant into suitable areas as the seasons change .
Find a suitable size container , that is possibly twice the size of the bag the plant comes in , remember that the root system has a thick bulb like shape to store water that is the widest part of the plant , so a pot that bulges at the center is ideal .
The pot must have drainage holes at the bottom , this is essential .
Plant using a mixture of 1/3 coarse river sand , 1/3 compost , and 1/3 garden soil .
Do not use fertilizers in the planting mix , even organics . remember that this plant thrives in poor soils , so fertilizing at this stage will burn the roots .
After planting , the leaves often fall from the plant so don't panic , as you will soon see new buds (In summer).
Summer care -
The most important rule is not to over water this plant as to much water will kill it quicker than anything else .
Leave the plant in a position to get sun for about half the day at first , and also where it can receive natural rainfall as they prefer rain water over tap water .
After it has grown a new set of leaves , you can add a little water based fertilizer every few months , but not when the leaves are starting to fall in late summer .
Never dig about in the pot , or add granular fertiliser , just leave the soil as is .
During periods where there is a lot of rain , you need to keep an eye that the plant is not starting to rot , and if possible move it into a rain free area , next to the house under the eaves for instance .
You will see this if it looks/feels as if any part of the stems have gone soft , or if it looks as if the inner part of the stem has dissapeared , often at the thinner stems first .
At the first sign of this , move the plant into a position where it can get sunlight , and NO rain or water , leave the plant here until the thick part of the stem starts to shrink , when you can allow it to have water again .
The part that has gone soft will often shrivel up , and you will loose that stem .
The biggest hassle with the plant rotting , is that it starts at the inside , so you only see you have a problem once the rot shows on the outer stem , and by then there is nothing you can do to save the stem , and in some cases the whole plant .
Do not prune the plant , leave it to grow as it wishes .
Winter care -
The most important thing is to keep the plant protected from frost or cold winds , I will bring mine indoors overnight if there is severe frost or freezing night temps expected in mid winter .
Do not water when the plant is leafless , unless the base becomes very thin , you will see this as gaps start to appear between the base of the plant and the soil .
You should water it again once spring is in full swing and night temperatures are nowhere near freezing , but only sparingly until it comes into leaf .
Leave the plant in a sunny position under a veranda ,but do not bring it indoors as it will not flower in the shade .
The plant can flower any time from Late summer to spring , with a peak in late winter .
The best is to transport it in its bag , and transplanted into the pot without disturbing this soil .
The plant can also be transported with bare roots , the main thing is to prevent any root damage by placing it in a suitable cardboard box .
To remove it from a planted bag , run water into the soil , and tear away the sides allowing the soil to wash out from the roots .
Do not dig the soil away , as the roots are thick and succulent , so take a long time to regrow if they are broken .
The above methods , especially those in the pots should work for most areas if you feel you can meet the criteria .
The same methods as above can be applied to kudu lilies also .
It would be great if people who have experience growing these (Especially in other areas) can add there thoughts