Bulbil Watsonia

South Africa

General description

Perennial, clump-forming herb < 2 m tall. Corms are < 8 cm in diameter, stout and fibrous. Leaves are sword-shaped. Flowers are tubular, < 10 cm long, red/orange/pink/cream and borne on a spike in September-December. Cormils are shiny, red/brown and borne in clusters on floral stems.

What you need to know

Although bulbil watsonia is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.

Scrub, riparian margins, coastal dunes, wetland, wasteland, urban areas, roadsides.

Seed set is rare. Vegetative spread from corms and cormils, dispersed by water and soil movement. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste and movement of contaminated soil, machinery and vehicles.

Forms dense mats of corms, suppressing native seedling recruitment.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Underground corms and aerial corms

Disposal options: Rot corms in covered water barrel or remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Foliar spray with 150ml glyphosate green per 10L of water

Basic Growsafe certified
Foliar spray with 3g metsulfuron-methyl plus 150ml glyphosate per 10L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray with 3g metsulfuron-methyl plus 150ml glyphosate per 10L of water and 10ml penetrant

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

wild gladiolus
Gladiolus undulatus

Gladiolus has shorter stems and lacks aerial corms on stems. Leaves are surrounded by deep red-purple sheaths.

Crocosmia X crocosmiiflora

Montbretia is a smaller plant, its leaves are softer and droop over. It lacks aerial corms on stems.

RPMP status

Not a legally declared pest plant
Bulbil watsonia - Main species image