Saturday, March 28, 2015

Favorite Plants this March

I'm a little late with this post but there's been a lot to do in the garden this month and blog posts must be squeezed in.  Despite the unseasonable heat we've experienced this month, new plants and flowers keep making an appearance, which has also made choosing a favorite plant more difficult.  This week I've given preferential treatment to the Ixia hybrids growing in my backyard borders, in part because I don't think they'll hold up as long as some of the other contenders.

Ixia photographed in my backyard border


Ixia, also known as corn lilies and wand flowers, are native to South Africa and grow from corms.  They do especially well in hot, dry climates like mine but they can grow in colder climates if they're pulled up and stored during the winter months. Some growers recommend pulling them up in areas that receive summer rain as well; however, with good drainage, mine don't seem to have a problem with the irrigation they receive in summer.

They have upright grass-like foliage and look best grown in groups.

In a warm, dry climates they may remain in place until they become so crowded that flowering diminishes


Flowers may be cream, yellow, red, orange or pink and they often have center splotches that contrast with the petals.   All those I've seen in garden centers have been offered in mixed assortments.  Interestingly, all those I planted in 2013 have bloomed in shades of cream and yellow while all those I planted last year, also labeled as a mixture, have bloomed with magenta petals.

I haven't seen any orange or red blooms yet!


The Ixia hybrids are my favorite plants this week.  I'm joining Loree at danger garden in flaunting this month's favorites.  You can see her March favorites here.  Earlier this month, I featured 2 other favorites, Arctotis hybrid 'Pink Sugar' and Pelargonium peltatum 'Crocodile.'

You can read my March 6th post about Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' here

And my March 13th post about Pelargonium peltatum 'Crocodile' can be found here


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

22 comments:

  1. Corn lilies, ummm .... there are two kinds. I wonder what is corn-y about this one? The other one, Veratrum californicum, has inflorescences that look like small ears of corn. They grow here in the high mountains where it is very cold and snow remains a long time in "snow melt gullies". Their roots are constantly very moist. Don't waste your time and money trying to grow them where you are. These South African bulbs however seem to grow very well here in the lowlands, naturalizing even.

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    1. I didn't know that Veratrum californicum was called a corn lily. It's so pretty - I hoped I could stretch my zone and grow it here but, from what you say, that's unlikely. (I once tried dumping ice on herbaceous peonies to simulate winter but that didn't work so no use trying that trick again). Ixia buds look corn-like before they open. If you look at last week's "In a Vase" post, you can see the flowers before they open. I should have added that pic to this post.

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  2. I remember seeing corms of these being sold in the markets in Madeira the last time we were there. Next time we go will definitely buy some to try!

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    1. They're utterly care-free here but probably not as much so for you.

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  3. Gorgeous - those corn lilies remind me just a bit of water lilies. I'm smitten! Do they seem to draw in bees or butterflies much Kris?

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    1. It seems as though the open flowers should attract bees but I haven't noticed them there - of course, there are plenty of other flowers in my garden keeping them busy.

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  4. These are gorgeous! I recently saw corn lilies in full bloom for sale at a nursery in my area. They looked much like the ones in your first photo. I wonder how successful they would be here. Definitely would have to give them good drainage!

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    1. They're worth a try, Deb. As bulbs go, they're very inexpensive.

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  5. I love Ixia!
    At lower elevations (about 1,000ft above sea level) near where I live, they have naturalised on the slopes of drainage ditches along the road. Where I live however, they need lifting or growing in pots as it is a tad too chilly - but when paired with freesias; they look spectacular!

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    1. I'll have to try growing them with freesia, Matt - thanks for the idea!

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  6. I am so glad you posted about your Ixia hybrids again. You mentioned them in your Monday "in a vase" post and I meant to look them up then to learn more, but...well...you know. Time!

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    1. You'd probably need to grow them in a pot, Loree. Other than taking them when winter turns frosty, they shouldn't require special care in the PNW.

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  7. I like the ixia, they're pretty and don't look like they'd be tough so it's great that they cope with dryness and heat.

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    1. I hope they spread here. The only difficulty I see with them, Amy, is that the corms are small and easy to unintentionally dig up when futzing with a border.

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  8. I feel like I know nothing about flowers as you have so many I have never seen Kris...I am smitten with Ixia...they are just beautiful.

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    1. Our climates are so very different, Donna - mine is probably a true Mediterranean climate, although, with temperatures steadily increasing and a drought on, it's beginning to feel as though I've moved to the desert.

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  9. Oooh!! I love all of these! that ixia is incredible! What beauties! I'll have to keep my eyes out for that Crocodile geranium. Very cool! :o)

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    1. 'Crocodile' is surprisingly difficult to find, given the ready availability of other ivy geraniums, Tammy. I hope you can locate it - it'll be a while before I can take cuttings from my new plant.

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  10. Oy! The interwebs kept telling me Service Unavailable! So there ya go.....

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    1. I appreciate your persistence, Tammy! Blogger showed your comment above 3 times on my comments page so apparently the system was playing tricks on you. Sorry about that.

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  11. I love the colors of the Ixia! The deep raspberry centers are lovely.

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  12. Ixia are lovely! I've never seen them before. The magenta is a really beautiful color. Thanks for sharing!

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