How to plant, care for and grow Babiana
|Name derived from||In Afrikaans babiantjie means little baboon.|
|Common name||Baboon flower, babiana|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Flower Colours||Colours range from blue to mauve, red, white and cream|
|Predators||Red spider mites/Fusarium|
Fun fact: Colonists boiled and ate the corms of Babiana.
Babiana is a corm and there are 88 species, most of which are from sub-Saharan Africa Namaqualand and the Western Cape. The plant is indigenous to South Africa and when mature it will reach a height of about 20cm. It is strongly scented and has hairy foliage. The species is easy and rewarding to grow.
Seasons and planting
Babiana prefers sandy soil in a sunny position and it is very tolerant of warm temperatures. It should be planted at a depth of 2cm with 5cm spacing between the corms. It is suited to containers and rockeries and must be watered regularly and deeply through autumn and winter. The lowest temperature the plant can tolerate is 2°C.
The plants prefer a completely dry summer but they can have some moisture if the soil is well-draining. If you cannot provide these conditions, it is recommended to lift the corms in November and store them in wood shavings or shredded newspaper until April. It is important to note that the plant does not part easily with stems and foliage at dormancy – we recommend you use scissors to cut the plant a little way off the neck.
Cormlets can be taken off during the plants dormancy. Can also be propagated from seed which is sown in autumn. Germination takes six weeks, after which flowering will begin in the second or third year.