Ideal for decorating green spaces, flower beds or lively gardens, the Sparaxis (Iridaceae) are native to South Africa and are able to flourish in the Mediterranean climate of Italy. Recognizable for their lanceolate basal leaves and incredibly bright colors, these specimens boast a height of about 10-30 centimeters and an incredible resistance to temperatures close to zero. Sparaxis are also odorless, although this element does not affect the pleasantness of this species. Their trademark? The center (red or black) is surrounded by a sparse and very colorful spike with six petals. The elegans variant is usually white / orange, the grandiflora species stands out for its deep and suggestive purple, while the tricolor has shades of orange, red and pink. The floral rainbow therefore allows you to set up a charming, elegant and personalized garden. We also remember that the plant in question was studied and cataloged for the first time by the botanical researcher John Bellenden Ker Gawler (1764-1842).
How to grow Sparaxis?
Although Sparaxis are able to survive low temperatures for long periods, it is important to remember that regular watering and fertilizing are always mandatory. After flowering, we recommend extracting the bulbs from the soil to store them in a dark and not very humid place; this simple precaution will allow you to replant them in spring (10-11 weeks before flowering). How? It will be sufficient to use a soft, fertilized and well-drained soil to place the bulbs at a depth of no more than 8-10 centimeters. To obtain a pictorial and suggestive effect, it is better to arrange the flowers at a close distance: the final effect will be flashy and impactful. The Sparaxis also love sunny or slightly shady areas: as they come from an arid and very hot area, it is in fact important to let the soil dry before proceeding with watering. An excess of humidity dulls and degrades the colors of these specimens, negatively affecting their health. In addition to what has been said, it is recommended to use a dose of liquid fertilizer for flowers monthly, trying to maintain an overall temperature of not less than about 8-9 ° C.
Diseases and pests – How to cure Sparaxis?
The enemies of the Sparaxis depend to a large extent on the type of plantation that is preferred. Ground cultivation risks being damaged by the proliferation of fungi that form in the event of water stagnation and / or excessive humidity. Home or balcony growing is often resistant to attack, as well as capable of preserving its extraordinary beauty season after season. Sparaxis are also sensitive to thrips, one of the most annoying problems of indoor gardening. To avoid colonization of the plants, it will be sufficient to eliminate the dead leaves and occasionally disinfect the floriculture tools.
Curiosities about the Sparaxis
Knowing the meaning behind the name of a flower allows you to understand the tradition that has been handed down to the present day. Sparaxis comes from the ancient Greek “sparasso” whose translation is to break, to tear. The reason is not clear, but it is likely it was connected to the intensive cultivation connected to the beauty of the specimens (which were therefore collected from the ground). Sparaxis are also harlequin flowers: after all, being eclectic and charming they couldn’t be called otherwise!