Our bulb, or should we say, bulbs of the week are the beautiful Ixia, Sparaxis and Tritonia. These bulbs are part of the Iridaceae Family and are firm favourites of ours due to their beauty, ease of planting and reliability. They are very undemanding so with a little care your garden will be blessed each year with bursts of bright, bold colours and due to their very similar planting requirements they make perfect border buddies!
Ixia is also known as the African corn lily or wand flower, and are at home in any garden that allows them to bask in full sun but if necessary they will also tolerate partial sunlight. A slender stem holds spikes of little star-shaped, six-petalled flowers and when you see them it is easy to understand where the name “wand flower” is derived from. On each wand blooms flowers in a variety of colours, ranging from purple, mauve and blue to red, orange, pink, yellow, cream and white, and there are even turquoise-blue to green variants.
The slightly shorter relative of the Ixia is the Sparaxis, also known as the harlequin flower. These lovely flowers are visually very similar. The open faced, star-shape of the Sparaxis displays a multitude of intricate patterns in the center and when grouped together these flowers create a beautiful kaleidoscope of colour. The colours range from white to pure yellow, orange, pink, red, mauve, salmon and even green.
Known as the blazing star or garden montbretia, the Tritonia has 28 species mostly from South Africa, with some extending in to tropical central Africa. The cup-shaped blooms of the Tritonia sit on branched, slender and elegant stems and are similar in appearance to the Freesia. The delicate blooms grace our gardens with colours ranging from bright orange to salmon, cream and white.
Ixia, Sparaxis and Tritonia are at home in any garden where they receive partial sun light, but a few hours of direct sunshine will allow them to bloom to their full potential. They are best planted in soil that drains well and has a light texture. These lovely flowers look stunning clustered together in a border, will make a cheerful rock garden, or brighten up any patio when planted in pots. Ixia, Sparaxis and Tritonia are all available from March, should be planted mid-April to late May ensuring a brighter garden throughout September and in to October.
As with all your bulbs, don’t forget the Three F’s: Water your bulbs for Forty minutes, with a sprinkler, every Four days and don’t Forget.