Ledebouria cooperi
Common Name: Cooper’s African hyacinth 
Type: Bulb
Family: Liliaceae
Native Range: Central South Africa
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant

Culture

Best grown in evenly moist, rich, humusy, well-draining loams in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide variety of soil types as long as they are well-draining. Appreciates consistent moisture during the growing season and reduced watering during the winter dormant period. Propagate through division. Hardy in USDA Zones 7-10.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ledebouria cooperi, commonly called Cooper’s false squill, is a bulbous perennial native to wetland margins, moist grasslands, and other marshy habitats in southern Africa, mainly in eastern South Africa, Lesotho, and Eswatini. Mature plants can reach 6-10" tall and will slowly form small colonies through offsets, filling a 12" area. The rounded bulbs are 1" in diameter. The upright, lanceolate leaves have distinct, purple, vertical striations and reach 8-10" long and 0.75" wide. Around 3-8 leaves emerge from each bulb. The inflorescences are 2-3" long racemes of small, fragrant, pink flowers held on 4-6" long, curved scapes (leafless flowering stalks). The main bloom period is in spring.

Genus name honors botanist Carl Friedrich von Ledebour (d. 1851).

The specific epithet cooperi honors Thomas Cooper (1815-1913) a horticulturist and plant collector who traveled and collected extensively in southern Africa.

The common name Cooper's false squill refers to the specific epithet of this species and its similar appearance to plants in the genus Scilla.

Problems

Avoid heavy, poorly-drained soils and excess winter moisture which can lead to rot. Otherwise free of major pest or disease problems.

Uses

Mixed border fronts, path edger, rock gardens, alpine gardens. Suitable for use in containers.