The Q&A Archives: Sparaxis

Question: I was recently at the Carlsbad Flower Fields, and saw a delightful little salmon colored flower that looked like miniature lilies to me. I went into the gift shop and inquired about them, and one of the ladies there told me they were Spraxis. She says there are none available this time of year, I'll have to wait till next Fall. Can you tell me something more about Spraxis, and suggest any catalogues or mail order companies I might find them in?

Answer: The plant you're looking for is Sparaxis, also known as Harlequin flower or Wandflower. You can plant bulbs in the fall, or sow seeds in the spring. The plants like dry, neutral to alkaline soils and full sunshine. The plants are from South Africa and develop erect, narrow, lance-shaped leaves and spikes bearing shallow, trumpet-shaped flowers of red, orange, purple, pink, or white flowers. Theygfrow 12"-24" tall and can be propagated from off-sets, or allowed to self-sow. Seeds are available from Cyberseeds, PO Box 171102, San Antonio, TX 78217-1102.

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