The sparaxis is a type of blooming bulb plant that was originally found in South Africa but is now grown around the world and in the UK. Colloquially known as the harlequin flower or wand flower, the sparaxis is popular for its long green leaves and star-shaped flowers that come in a variety of colours, including red and purple. Learn how to raise sparaxis flowers in your own garden for a colourful conversation starter.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Sparaxis flower bulbs
- Watering can or garden hose
- Scissors or garden shears
Wait for the right time to plant the sparaxis flower bulbs. Plant the sparaxis in the spring.
Select a location in which you plan to plant the sparaxis bulbs. They need a well-drained area that gets full sunlight. If no area in your garden drains well, build a flowerbed by working the soil with a shovel and piling it around 7.5 cm (3 inches) above the rest of the garden. If you do not have enough soil, consider using a general soil amendment and garden soil mixture from your local nursery or garden centre.
Plant the sparaxis bulbs. Use a shovel to dig a hole, or simply push the bulbs into the ground if the soil is soft enough. The sparaxis bulb should be oriented with its roots facing down and its pointed end facing towards the surface of the soil. Bury bulbs to a depth of 5 cm (2 inches). If planting more than one sparaxis flower plant, separate each bulb by 10 cm (4 inches).
Water the area thoroughly with your garden hose or watering can. Water enough to make the soil damp to the touch, but not so much that a puddle forms on the surface of the ground. Exercise caution so you do not wash the soil away and expose the buried sparaxis bulbs.
Cover the buried bulbs with mulch if planting in the autumn. The mulch will help protect and shield the bulbs from cold winter weather before they've become established. You may use mulch bought from your local nursery or garden centre, or make your own mulch using compost, hay or straw, or similar chopped vegetation.
Wait for the sparaxis to sprout. If planting the flowers in the spring, they will sprout within two to three weeks. If you planted the bulbs in the autumn, they will sprout the following spring as the weather heats up.
Trim the sparaxis flowers as they bloom if you wish to make cut flower arrangements, or leave them on the plant to enjoy them in your garden. The sparaxis will grow throughout the spring and bloom at the start of the summer. Don't remove or prune the plant while its leaves are still green, as the plant needs its foliage to generate energy that is stored in its bulb for the winter. Trim the plant back to the ground once its leaves turn yellow at the end of the summer.
Tips and warnings
- Some people choose to dig out their sparaxis bulbs in the autumn when the foliage and flowers have died off. This allows you to store and transport the bulbs. Conversely, leave the bulbs in the ground and let them grow and bloom naturally the next year.
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