Plants of the Sparaxis genus are hardy bulbs that are usually grown as annuals by gardeners as they will not survive being frozen.
Thye are a great plant to grow in Rock gardens, containers, as a Patio plant, or as part of beds and borders.
Sparaxis range in height from 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 feet) and naturally bloom from middle to late spring (sowing later can result in summer blooms).
They have lance shaped leaves, and carry trumpet shaped flowers on spikes.
the Sparaxis flowers may be of pink, purple, red, orange or white. Some common names for Sparaxis plants include Harlequin Flower and Wandflower.
Sparaxis tricolor by Vahe Martirosyan, CC.
Plants have an upright nature with a tuft of linear to lanceolate leaves. The leaves reach about 30 cm (one foot) in length.
The wiry flowering stems of Sparaxis tricolor reach up to 45 cm (18 inches) in height. Plants typically have a spread of 10 to 13 cm (4 to 5 inches).
Best grown in full sunlight, this species blooms in numerous colors including red, yellow, orange, lavender, and white. The center of the flower has a yellow and black throat.
Sparaxis elegans by FarOutFlora, CC.
Noted for its attractive spiring anthers. This plant is native to the Greater Cape region of southern Africa.
Sparaxis elegans ranges from 10 to 30 cm in height. It has five to nine lance shaped leaves in a fan.
Stems are simple and carry a spike of three to five flowers. These flowers are usually orange, salmon, or white, with a purplish center.
Sparaxis grandiflora, white fimbriata Kirstenbosch subspecies by Andrew massyn, CC.
Sparaxis grandiflora carries attractive plum-colored flowers in its natural form, but white flowers are also common in garden varieties. It is typically a little shorter than other members of the genus, reaching about 25 cm (10 inches) in height.
It is an upright plant that carries ten lanceolate light green leaves, reaching 6 to 20 cm (2 to 8 inches) in length.
Plants bloom in the late spring with clusters of plum or white unscented flowers.
Commonly grown garden species are typically about 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches) tall.
These plants grow vegetably in the winter and bloom in the spring. In their natural habitat species such as Sparaxis elegans may begin to flower towards the end of winter.
If you are growing as an annual, then a late spring and early summer bloom is likely.
It is best to propagate under glass or in a cold-frame. Ideally sow into containers containing a loam, sand, and leaf mold mix in the autumn.
Grow until corms have developed (typically by the following autumn) and then transfer to their final location.
The bulbs can be planted in spring or in late autumn. Space them at about 10 cm (4 inches) apart and at a depth of around 8 cm (3 inches); can be planted deeper in cooler areas to help prevent against frost (to a maximum depth of about 20 cm, 8 inches).
This is an easy to care for low maintenance plant. Occasional light watering during its growing period. Once blooming has completed remove the flower stems and allow the foliage to decay naturally, no need to water at this stage.
If growing as an annual then plants can be pulled up and replaced with something else.
Learn how to grow Harlequin flower (Sparaxis)
Harlequin Flowers and other Sparaxis plants can be grown from outdoors from bulbs or seeds.
Sparaxis bulbs should be planted with a little sand about 7 or 8 cm (3 inches) deep in the spring (summer blooms) or autumn (spring blooms)
Sparaxis seeds should be sown in either early autumn or early spring and lightly covered once sown.
Sparaxis by Hans s.
Ideally Harlequin flowers and related species should be grown in a sunny part of the garden that has a neutral or alkaline dry soil.
When starting off indoors sow Sparaxis seeds about 10 weeks in advance.
They should take about one to three months to germinate at 10 to 12 degrees centigrade (50 to 54°F).
Transplant the young Sparaxis seedlings outdoors following the last frost of spring with a spacing of about 10 cm (4 inches).
It is easy to care for Sparaxis plant species such as Harlequin flower and Wandflowers. In the spring tome they should be supplied with a top dressing of cow manure.
When in their growing period provide a regular watering and fertilizing.
If grown in an exposed area it may be a good idea to supply a light stake for the Sparaxis plants.
If you require more plants then Sparaxis can be propagated by planting the offsets.