SCHIZOSTYLIS

An out-of-the-ordinary perennial which will add colour to the middle of the border at the end of the season. Rising above the grassy foliage are the flowering spikes which look like miniature Gladioli – each of the blooms on the spikes has the appearance of a Crocus. The underground rhizomes indicate a relationship to the Iris and yet its common name reveals none of these associates – Schizostylis is called the Kaffir Lily! The 1.5 in. blooms are pink or red and are recommended as cut flowers. In spring plant the rhizomes about 1 in. below the soil surface – choose a moist site or add plenty of organic matter before planting. Water in dry weather and dead-head faded blooms. Cut down the stems when the floral display is over and protect the crowns with peat.

VARIETIES: The basic details of S. coccinea are height 2 ft. Spacing 1 ft.

Flowering period: September-November. ‘Major’ is the variety usually grown – itsflowersarelargeanddeepred.’MrsHegarty’isausefulpink variety which blooms earlier than the others. ‘Viscountess Byng’ (pink) is frowned upon because it does not bloom until November.

SITE AND SOIL: Rather fussy – a well-drained but moisture-retentive soil is necessary. Thrives in sun or light shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in spring.

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