SPARAXIS or WAND FLOWER

P. Sparaxis pulcherrima (Dierama pul-cherrimum), sometimes known as angels’ fishing rods, is a most beautiful and distinctive plant which is by no means easy to grow well, except in mild, cool districts. A moist, rich loam is desirable. Increase by division in October. The pendulous flower spikes appear in early summer. They grow to about 6 ft. with clusters of bell-shaped blooms. Magic Wand is pale lavender-pink, Sea Swallow pale mallow-pink and Windhover deep lilac-rose. There is a pleasing white form. A new strain growing to about 3 ft. is equally attractive.

Other kinds of sparaxis are sometimes referred to as African harlequin flowers. They resemble ixias in habit of growth, but with even more striking colour combinations. They require a sunny position, light, rich, well-drained soil and should be given some protection in winter, e.g. evergreen branches or bracken. The height is usually about 8 in. Sparaxis alba maxima is pure white with a yellow centre, Robert Schumann a mixture of purple, red and white, Sulphur Queen creamy yellow and Scarlet Gem vivid velvety-scarlet with yellow and black centres.

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