Plant DetailShow Menu

Sparaxis

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
spa-RAKS-iss
Description

Sparaxis, or Harlequin Flower, is a genus of summer-blooming, perennial bulbs containing 15 species of plants. This genus is typically found growing wild in sandy or rocky slopes at low altitudes or in wet sandy or limestone flats. Sparaxis is a corm, or bulb forming plant, that usually grows to 2 feet high by 8 inches wide. Species of this plant are frost tender (classified as Tender III) and can be injured when temperatures drop below 25 degrees. All species grow during wet winter season, flower in the spring, and survive underground as dormant corms over the summer. It is best to plant this genus against a south-facing wall and to cover with mulch during cold spells. Sparaxis species usually bloom from April to May and are pollinated by Insects. 

Plants will grow in sandy soils, but prefers rich soil, and accept well-drained, moist, or dry soil. It likes full sun in the afternoon and does best in a hot, sunny site, but it cannot grow in the shade. Plant bulbs at a depth of 5 inches with spacing at 2 to 3 inches apart. To propagate from bulbs, the corms should be kept dry after flowering. Lift the corms when the leaves die down, store them in a dry place at about 68 to 77 degrees F and replant them the fall. If planting from seed, sow them thinly indoors in early spring in a light potting mix. The seed usually germinates within 6 weeks but the seedlings are liable to damp off so give them plenty of ventilation. Divide up the small bulbs when the plants have become dormant at the end of the first growing season and continue to grow them indoors for at least another year before planting them outside. Sparaxis often flowers in the second year from seed. 

Insects, Diseases, and other Plant Problems:

No known problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Alba Maxima
  • Fire King
  • Horning
  • Robert Schuman
Alba Maxima , Fire King , Horning , Robert Schuman
Tags:
#bulb#perennial bulb#corm#frost tender#colorful#summer bulbs
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Alba Maxima
  • Fire King
  • Horning
  • Robert Schuman
Alba Maxima , Fire King , Horning , Robert Schuman
Tags:
#bulb#perennial bulb#corm#frost tender#colorful#summer bulbs
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Sparaxis
    Family:
    Iridaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South Africa
    Bulb Storage:
    Store dry at 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C)
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Capsules globose to oblong, cartilaginous. Seeds 8–15 per locule, globose; seed coat light to dark brown, hard, shiny.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Description:
    Star-shaped flowers usually bloom in April and May; 2 to 5 many-flowered bracts. Flowers are odorless, funnel-shaped, sometimes obliquely so; tepals variously colored, sometimes with strongly contrasting markings. Flowers have six tepals, which in most species are equal in size and shape.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Sword-shaped leaves, several, sometimes prostrate; blade plane, ensiform to oblong.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems simple or branched