Sparaxis: types and varieties, growing tips

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Sparaxis (lat. Sparaxis ) is a decorative bulbous perennial. The plant belongs to the Iris family, is a representative of the South African flora. The genus includes 15 species, most often cultivated in amateur gardening with. Tricolor, p. graceful, s. Bilbifer and s. Grandiflora. Unlike many other members of its family, the flower has a low frost resistance.


Under natural conditions, this culture reaches up to 100 cm in height, in household plots its height is 0.6 m, less often 0. 7 – 1 m. This herbaceous plant has thin, strong, straight, bright green stems. Leaf plates are lanceolate, elongated, narrowed at the base and at the end, smooth to the touch, different shades of green.

The flowers are star-shaped, elongated, with double petals of an expressive color, 5–6 cm in diameter. Scarlet, purple, violet, yellow, orange, white tones predominate.

The central part of the flower is yellow, outlined by a dark border. Inside the bud there is a long pistil and 3 slightly bent stigmas. Flowering of sparaxis is plentiful and long, begins in May.

Species and varieties

The spectacular flower is very popular among gardeners. Hybrids and varieties of this plant are grown in flower beds. Each of them differs in the color scheme of the buds and the length of the stems.

Below is a description and photo of sparaxis of the most popular species and varieties.

Sparaxis tricolor ( Sparaxis tricolor ). The most popular variety of sparaxis. Reaches 35 – 40 cm in height. On one peduncle develops 5 – 6 buds. The color of the petals can be monochromatic or bicolor. In the center of the bud there is a yellow spot with a dark border around the edge.

Sparaxis graceful ( Sparaxis elegans ). Undersized species, reaching 15 – 20 cm in height. Buds can be coral or white. The central part of the amber color, with a black border.

Sparaxis Bilbifera ( Sparaxis bulbifera ). Bush 60 – 70 cm high, with straight, slightly branched shoots. Flowers 6 cm in diameter, white, pale yellow or cream color.

Sparaxis grandiflora ( Sparaxis grandiflora ). One of the highest varieties, whose height is 90 – 100 cm. It has a belt-like expressive foliage. The flowers are large, star-shaped. The color of the petals is purple. On their surface there are white and yellow strokes. The central part of the buds is light yellow. This species has a strong rich aroma, therefore it has the second name “fragrant”.

The most popular varieties of this species include:

“Superba” is a plant up to 30 cm high. Spike-shaped inflorescences develop on peduncles, consisting of 7 flowers of orange, purple, white colors. The center of the flower is amber with a black outline.

“Elegance” – has buds of white or lilac color. The core is dark purple, with white elongated stamens.

“Lord of Fire” – a variety with red buds with a bright yellow center.

‘Moonlight’ is a beautiful cultivar with white petals streaked with purple or red. The center of the flower is yellow, with a black border.

“Jumbo Star Mix” – a tall variety with stems 100 – 120 cm long. Buds of various colors with a predominance of white, yellow, red, orange, purple tones.

“Sunny Day” – a bright variety with rich yellow petals. The middle of the buds is also yellow, with fuzzy borders and a black border.

Site selection

Sparaxis is a corm culture, which is most often propagated by bulbs. The seed method of obtaining a new plant is much less commonly used.

Before landing, they choose a place on the site, giving preference to hills where water will not stagnate. In addition, the place for growing this crop should be closed from drafts and gusty winds.

For a plant of tropical origin, a fertile loose substrate with a high content of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus is suitable. On dense soils with poor air permeability, the bulbs can rot.

If such a problem exists, sand must be added to the soil. When digging in autumn, it is recommended to apply organic fertilizer. In the spring, it is useful to add wood ash to the substrate along with mineral compounds.


Experienced gardeners advise planting bulbs of this crop before winter or spring. The best time for this in the first case is the end of September – the beginning of October, in the second – at the end of April – beginning of May. However, the most important thing is to focus on the weather. Stable warm fine days should be established.

The place for growing sparaxis from bulbs or seeds must be open so that the plant bathes in the sun, otherwise it will not develop and bloom well.

It is necessary to deepen the planting material by 5 – 9 cm, depending on its size. The distance between the holes should be 10 – 14 cm. After planting the bulbs, it is necessary to water them abundantly and sprinkle with a layer of mulch. Flowering of plants planted in late spring can be observed in August.

It should be borne in mind that in the southern latitudes, where in winter the air temperature does not drop to negative values, it is not necessary to dig up bulbs for indoor storage. The plant can be grown in one place for 5 to 6 years, after which it will need to be renewed.

Reproduction by seeds

The seed method of propagation of this crop is used by gardeners in very rare cases, because it is laborious, it allows you to see flowering only 3 years after sowing. In addition, when growing a plant from seeds, there is no guarantee of obtaining a flower with the desired varietal characteristics.

Having decided to apply this method, it is important to consider some rules for planting and caring for sparaxis in the open field:

  1. For germination, take only well-ripened seed.
  2. Before sowing, fill containers with loose nutrient substrate.
  3. Before planting, treat the seeds with a solution – a growth stimulator. The drug “Epin” is excellent for this.
  4. Moisten the soil first.
  5. Seeds are planted at a depth of 1 cm with a distance of 2 cm between them.
  6. Cover the crops with cling film to create the effect of a greenhouse.
  7. Ventilate daily when leaving.
  8. Moisten the substrate after drying its top layer.


Sparaxis care includes a set of standard agricultural practices that are used in the cultivation of most garden bulb flowers.

  • Watering. At home, this crop grows in a hot, humid climate with infrequent heavy rains. Based on this, you need to water the flower moderately, waiting for the top layer of the earth to dry out. On hot days, you need to water the plant more intensively. Water procedures should be carried out in the evening, after the heat subsides. During the night, the plant will be saturated with moisture and rest from the heat. After each watering loosen the soil and remove weeds.
  • Topdressing. If the bulbs are not dug up for the winter, in the fall, after flowering, phosphorus is added to the soil, which contributes to a successful wintering and active growth of green mass in the spring. It is useful to feed the plant with fertilizers with a high content of potassium. At the same time, phosphorus and potassium should not be added, since potassium inhibits phosphorus. The interval between these top dressings should be 3 to 5 days.

In early spring, it is recommended to enrich the substrate with nitrogen for the active formation of foliage. During the budding period, it is useful to feed the plant with potassium. Also during the season you need to add ash at least 2 – 3 times.

  • Other activities. Since the buds of this culture bloom unfriendly, faded ones should be cut off in a timely manner. This provokes the opening of the remaining flowers and the formation of new buds.
  • Wintering. In regions where winters are accompanied by low temperatures, the bulbs are dug up and stored indoors. At the end of flowering, watering is no longer carried out. The aerial part is cut off, leaving 5 cm from the surface of the earth. The bulbs remain in the soil until dry. With the onset of the first frost, they are dug up, immersed for a day in a weak solution of manganese, and dried. Store at a temperature of 4 – 8 degrees in a dark dry place.
  • Fight against diseases and pests. The flower has good immunity, which allows it not to be attacked by pests and diseases. The only exception is improper care, which can lead not only to the occurrence of diseases, but also to its death.

With excessive watering, when the soil does not have time to dry out, the bulbs rot. If measures are not taken in a timely manner, that is, the rotten parts are not removed and watering is not adjusted, the plant cannot be saved.

With a lack of light or iron in the soil, the bush is affected by chlorosis. This disease can be eliminated by adding chelated fertilizers to the substrate. A negative effect on the well-being of the flower is a draft and a cold wind.

Given the recommendations for care when growing sparaxis in the garden, the florist will avoid problems when growing it and will enjoy the beauty and aroma of this spectacular exotic flower for a long time.

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