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Mexican Shell Flowers Tigridia

Phonetic Spelling
tig-GREE-dee-uh
Description

The Tiger Flower is a tropical bulb in the iris family with about 35 species, many cultivars and is native to Mexico and South America. The vibrant two-toned blooms of the Tiger Flower are 3" to 6" wide.  The flared flowers are vividly colored in shades of white, pink, red, orchid, yellow or orange with contrasting center spots.  There are 3 large petals flanking three small petals.  The foliage resembles that of the gladiola.   Each slender stem will have several flowers that bloom for 1 day.  However, each plant has many stems, providing a bloom period of several weeks.  Best grown in full sun, it will not tolerate full shade.  

They can be grown as annuals in zone 2-7 or lifted and brought inside in the fall. They can also be grown in a pot and brought in for the winter. In zone 8 they may survive with heavy mulching. In zones 9-12, divide the bulbs every few years, as they produce offsets that form large clumps. Grow in sandy to loam well-drained soils and they are best in full sun.  Plant 2-3 inches deep and 4-5 inches apart. Groups of 5-6 bulbs make an eye-catching display.

In the wild, they can be found growing in oak and pine forests as well as along roadsides.

The roots are edible.  They can be baked and have a taste similar to a sweet potato.  If eaten raw in can emit a burning sensation.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  If the roots are eaten raw, can have a burning effect.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • T. pavonia
T. pavonia
Tags:
#cultivars#bulb#showy flowers#drought tolerant#perennials#perennial bulbs#corms#rabbit resistant#deer resistant#border planting#flowers late summer#small group plantings#sandy soils tolerant#annual bulb#edible bulbs
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • T. pavonia
T. pavonia
Tags:
#cultivars#bulb#showy flowers#drought tolerant#perennials#perennial bulbs#corms#rabbit resistant#deer resistant#border planting#flowers late summer#small group plantings#sandy soils tolerant#annual bulb#edible bulbs
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tigridia
    Family:
    Iridceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Aztecs of Mexico used the bulbs for food and medicinally.
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico and South America
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts pollinators
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Bulb Storage:
    Lift and store in the fall or use as an annual
    Edibility:
    The roots are edible.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 4 in. - 0 ft. 5 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    3 solid color petals surround 3 smaller variegated petals. Blooms late summer
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Narrow lance-shaped leaves, pleated in fan-like tufts similar to palms.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Straight smooth green stems up to 2 feet tall
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Pollinators