Sparaxis [Spa-RAKS-iss] belongs to the family of Iridaceae and has around 13 species native to the South African region. It is a spectacular greenhouse flower which showcases breathtaking colors.
This genus of perennials also referred to as Sparaxis:
- They grows best during the wet winter season
- Blooms during the late spring season
- Survives underground as dormant corms during the summer season
The common names for Sparaxis include:
- Harlequin flower
- Wand flower
Harlequin Flower Care
Size & Growth
The Sparaxis tricolor forms a fan-shaped tuft of narrow or linear lance-shaped leaves and sprouts flowers shaped like a funnel with loose spikes.
It grows from 11” – 23” inches long. The stem of this plant grows 17” inches tall.
Flowering and Fragrance
The bloom time of Sparaxis is usually during the early summer season and bears tiny clusters of blooms.
Sparaxis flower colors range from purple, orange, red, pink, or white cut flowers.
The blooms have a yellow center surrounded by dark red or black marks.
Light & Temperature
The wand flower loves the full sun, which is why it is ideal to place this plant in the sunniest part of the lawn or garden. It also grows well in partial shade.
This plant is sensitive to frost, and must not be planted in the pots if the temperature drops below 32° degrees Fahrenheit (0° C) for a prolonged duration.
The USDA hardiness zone of this plant is 9-10 and 7-8.
Watering and Feeding
Water seedlings of the wand flower thoroughly.
After the blooming season is completed, the soil should be left to dry up to enable the ripening of the corms.
The soil must be kept moist and well-watered after the germination process.
Make sure the plant gets enough water to soak through the root system.
Leave the soil to dry before watering again. This plant is drought tolerant.
Soil & Transplanting
Sparaxis prefers loam soils with proper drainage but will grow well in different soil types.
To enhance the soil and add more nutrients, put around 2” inches of well-rotted manure around the soil during the spring season.
Grooming and Maintenance
For optimal growth, place the Harlequin flower in a location getting full sun.
The flowers sprout on thin stems and usually need some support.
Plant with stronger plants to help them thread up before they start blooming.
Provide manure during the late spring season for optimal growth and make sure to regularly water and fertilize when they’re growing.
Remove all the spent flower stems from the plant, and give the foliage time to die down naturally.
If the plant is placed in an exposed location, stake it.
How To Propagate Sparaxis
Propagating the Harlequin flower is done through seeds.
- Sow the seeds in a greenhouse during the early spring season using a light potting mix.
- The seeds typically germinate within six weeks but provide sufficient ventilation as the seedlings might dampen off.
- Sow the seeds of Sparaxis thinly, so there isn’t a need to prick the seedlings out in their first year.
- Provide liquid feed regularly throughout the growing season.
- Ensure the plants grow out for at least two years before planting them out.
- The flowers will start appearing in the second year.
Propagating by Division
- The division is done through offsets of Sparaxis bulbs.
- The best time to do this is when lifting the dormant plant during the summer season.
- The bigger flower bulbs must be directly planted out in their permanent location.
- Whereas, the smaller flower bulbs should be planted in the pots and grown using a cold frame during their first year.
- Plant them out when they become dormant, during the late summer.
- The germination process for the wand flower takes one to three months.
- The temperature during this process should be 50° degrees Fahrenheit (10° C).
- Ensure the germination process starts two months earlier
- Once the process is completed
- Transplant the plants outdoors after the last frost or during the early fall season.
Sparaxis Pest or Diseases
The Harlequin flower does not experience any significant disease or pest problem.
However, be on a lookout for snails and slugs.
Harlequin Flower Uses
Sparaxis works well in containers, rock gardens, wildflower gardens, and mixed borders.
The flowers of this plant look great in vases as well.
It looks good with dahlias, Ixia, and gladiolus.