Ixia (lat. Ixia ) is a herbaceous perennial of South African origin. Belongs to the Iris family.
The genus includes more than 60 varieties. In ornamental gardening, this culture began to be in demand in the 18th century. To date, many varieties and hybrids of this plant have been bred. Most of them are intended for outdoor cultivation, but there are also varieties that are suitable for breeding at home.
The flowers are star-shaped, wide open, consist of six petals pointed at the end . The open bud diameter is 2.5 cm. The color of the petals can be bright yellow, pink, blue, white, cream and others.
The central part of the flower is black, brown, raspberry, burgundy, orange, depending on the variety . Up to ten buds are formed on one peduncle. This culture begins to bloom in the last days of May. Flowering lasts for 3 – 4 weeks.
This plant can develop and bloom only in open areas, where it will constantly be under the sun’s rays. From lack of light quickly dies.
Species and varieties
Ixia monadelpha ( Ixia monadelpha ). A plant about 40 cm high. It has a thin, simple, slightly branching stem. The leaves are lanceolate, smooth, bright green, up to 30 cm long. The flowers are star-shaped, small, may be lilac or lavender.
Green-flowered Ixia ( Ixia viridiflora ). Rare, but one of the most prized species by gardeners. Differs in funnel-shaped flowers of a green color. The core of the buds is purple, almost black.
Ixia spotted ( Ixia maculata ). It has spherical bulbs, 3 cm in diameter. The stem is thin, reaches 40 cm in length. The leaves are narrow, develop in the root zone. Spike-shaped inflorescences include several star-shaped flowers, 3.5 cm in diameter. The color of the petals is rich yellow, the central part is dark brown. The buds remain open only during daylight hours, with the onset of twilight they close.
Ixia longibuta ( Ixia longituba ). One of the most spectacular varieties of this culture. Along the entire length of the stem, star-shaped large flowers of rich colors are formed. During the flowering period, the plant is completely strewn with buds, which makes it look unusually attractive.
Chinese Ixia ( Ixia chinensis ). The plant reaches 60 to 150 cm in height. In the lower part of the stem, belt-like leaves 50 cm long and 3 cm wide develop. The inflorescences are long, branched, with many star-shaped, wide-open flowers. The petals are bright yellow, completely covered with red blurry spots. The diameter of open buds can be 6 – 7 cm. Flowers open with sunrise, close in the evening. The species has a short rhizome.
Ixia cream ( Cream Ixia ). It has massive inflorescences, consisting of large cream-colored flowers. Their central part is dark purple. The buds open from the bottom of the inflorescence. Flowering is long, but only up to 17 hours.
Ixia hybrid ( Ixia x hybrida ). A perennial species that is often grown in flower beds. The height of the plant is 40 – 60 cm. The leaf plates are xiphoid, rough, arranged in two rows. Inflorescences in the form of an ear consists of star-shaped flowers. Petals may be pointed or rounded at the top, depending on the variety. The color scheme of the buds is varied with a predominance of pink and white tones. The central part of the flowers is burgundy and dark brown.
Varieties of ixia hybrid:
“Blue Bred” – differs in the turquoise color of the inflorescences. Core blue.
“Castor” is a beautiful variety with bright pink flowers enclosed in spike-shaped inflorescences.
“Jaint” – attracts with delicate creamy white flowers, the central part of which is burgundy color.
“Hollands Glory” – has petals of two shades. Their upper part is carmine color, the lower part is coral color.
“Volcano” – a bright variety with large red flowers. The central part is black and maroon.
“Rose Emperor” – has pink flowers with a darker core.
“Mabel” – valued for its expressive inflorescences of an unusual red-carmine shade.
These photos illustrate the description of the perennial Ixia flower of various varieties:
Ixia is propagated with the help of bulbs, which form plants that have reached 3 to 4 years. The children are carefully cut with a sharp clean knife, the places of the cuts are sprinkled with crushed coal or treated with brilliant green.
If you want to get planting material in a short time, take the corm of an adult plant and cut it into pieces so that each has a root bud and a part of the rhizome. Do not forget to process the places of cuts, this will help to avoid rotting of the bulbs.
The seed method of propagating ixia is practiced only by breeders when it is necessary to obtain a new variety. This process is quite time-consuming, requires a lot of time, knowledge and experience.
The bulbs are planted in the garden during the spring and autumn months. Spring planting for regions with a temperate climate is carried out in April, in middle latitudes – in the last days of May or early June. It should be borne in mind that the bulbs freeze at air temperatures below 2 degrees.
For this culture, it is important to choose the right site, its well-being and flowering will depend on this. A good option for a light-loving flower is well-lit places in the garden, which are located far from trees that create shade.
The soil should be saturated with nutrients, have a neutral acidity. It is advisable to enrich the substrate with humus before planting. It is not recommended to plant a plant in places where there is a close location of groundwater.
The site chosen for ixia is preliminarily dug up, leveled, stones are removed, and earthen clods are broken. If the soil is heavy, add sand.
Planting material is carefully inspected before planting. For planting in open ground, only healthy ixia bulbs are chosen without signs of damage and mold, otherwise further care will be useless. Bulbs should be firm, dense, without dents.
On the prepared site, small holes are made about 8 cm deep. The distance between plants should be at least 20 cm. Watering after planting is not necessary.
The surface of the soil should be leveled and mulched. Flowering will come after 1 – 2 years. It is noticed that large bulbs germinate and bloom faster compared to those that are medium and small in size.
A South African plant will successfully develop and bloom actively only if suitable conditions are created for it, as close as possible to natural ones. This culture needs an abundance of sunlight, air temperature in the range of 23 – 30 degrees. High humidity is also important.
The following are care tips for growing Ixia outdoors, which will allow you to get a profusely flowering healthy plant and prevent the appearance of pests and diseases:
- Watering. The first watering should be carried out after 2 – 3 weeks after planting the bulbs on the site. Irrigate young plants should be moderate, waiting for the top layer of the earth to dry out. More intensive watering is needed for plants during the development of buds and during the flowering period. Water should be settled, not cold. It is advisable from time to time to add preparations that promote active flowering to the water for irrigation. To create high humidity, ixia is sprayed daily from a spray bottle throughout the entire flowering period. After carrying out water procedures and rains, the soil near the bushes is loosened to saturate the roots with oxygen and eliminate weeds.
- Topdressing. Fertilizer is applied from June until the end of flowering. Use mineral compositions for corms and organics. After the plant has faded, care for it is stopped.
- Wintering. After flowering, the bulbs are kept in the ground for another 4 weeks. During this time, they manage to accumulate a supply of nutrients. Dig bulbs in the second half of July. After digging, they are cleaned in a ventilated place to dry. Store in wooden boxes in a room with low humidity and a temperature of 7 – 15 degrees.