From Gardenology.org - Plant Encyclopedia and Gardening wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
 Ixia subsp. var.  
Habit: bulbous
Height: to
Width: to
Height: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
Lifespan: perennial
Exposure: sun
Features: flowers
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Iridaceae > Ixia var. , L.

If this plant info box on watering; zones; height; etc. is mostly empty you can click on the edit tab and fill in the blanks!

The genus Ixia consists of a number of cormous plants native to South Africa. Some of them are known as the corn lily. Some distinctive traits include: sword-like leaves, and long wiry stems with star-shaped flowers. It usually prefers well-drained soil.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Ixia (Greek, bird-lime; said to refer to the juice). Iridaceae. Attractive bulbs (cormose) from the Cape of Good Hope, with grass-like foliage and spikes of flowers in early spring, exhibiting a wide range of colors; usually flowered under glass, but can be grown in the open in the North with good protection.

Corm mostly globose, tunicated, fibrous-coated or nearly naked: st. simple or the infl. branched, about 1-2 ft. tall, bearing an erect spike or raceme of mostly 6-12 fls.: lvs. at the base of the St., erect, with perhaps a few smaller cauline ones: fls. funnelform or salverform with a slender sometimes elongated tube, and 6 nearly or quite equal segms., the colors white, yellow, orange, lilac, pink, crimson, red, purple or even green; stamens 3, attached in the throat, the filaments free or connate at the base; ovary obovoid or oblong, 3-celled and many-seeded, the style filiform with slender lobes: fr. a membranaceous obtuse 3-valved caps.—Species about 25 in S. Afr., 1 in Trop. Afr.

Ixias number their cultivated forms by the hundreds. Next to crocuses and freesias they have no rivals in point of popularity among spring-blooming bulbs of the iris family. Culturally they belong to the same class with babiana and sparaxis, which are also desirable and distinct in general appearance and coloring, but are surpassed by ixias in popularity and in number of varieties. Botanically, these three genera belong to the ixia tribe, in which the flowers are spicate, not fugitive and never more than one to a spathe. The stamens of Ixia are equilateral; those of Babiana and Sparaxis unilateral. Ixias have about six erect grass- like leaves arranged in two ranks; Babiana has plaited,hairy leaves. Bulb catalogues give no hint as to the parentage of the numerous named varieties. They may not mention I. maculata nor I. columellaris, which are probably the important parent stocks. Of the species recognized by Baker in Flora Capensis, apparently only I. viridiflora appears as a trade name, but I. speciosa and I. paniculata may be advertised under their synonyms I. craterioides and I. longiflora. Ixia flowers are charming in every stage of development. At first the flowers are erect and cup-shaped. They close at night and remain closed on dark days. As they grow older they open wider and become more star - shaped. Fig. 2001 shows the flowers in their drooping stage. The plants remain in flower for three weeks, although the faded flowers at the bottom of the spike should be taken off toward the end of the period. As cut-flowers, they are presentable for a week or two.

For greenhouse bloom, Ixia bulbs can be planted any time from September 15 to October 30, the sooner the better. In general, tender bulbs of small size tend to lose vitality when kept a long time in the dry air of warehouses. They should be planted an inch deep, five or six in a 5-inch pot, or eight to ten in a 6-inch pot. They like a compound of sandy soil and leaf- mold. It is probable that most of the failures with ixias are due to hasty forcing. The pots should be stored under a bench or in a rather dark cellar, at a temperature of 45°. The object is to hold back the tops while the roots are growing, in order to get stocky, well-colored, slowly started shoots. They need no water until growth has started. Then water carefully until the flowers come, as the young plants are liable to rot at the surface of the ground, While flowering water freely. After flowering, some gardeners give the plants no water. Others keep the soil moist until the leaves turn yellow, and then gradually withhold water. As to temperature, the plants may be brought into a cool greenhouse (50°) when well started, and toward the end of January may be given 5° more heat if flowers are desired as early as the middle of March. Ixias have to be staked and tied. The old bulbs, from which the offsets have been removed, may be used again. Ixia bulbs, which are really fibrous-coated corms about 1/2inch thick, keep as well as freesias. Seedlings flower the third year.

In coldframes ixias give good results. Choose for the frame an open place, sheltered from north and west winds. In its construction give especial care to providing good drainage, to close-fitting and snug banking, so that frost, mice and moles can be kept out. A sandy soil, without manures, is safest and best for ixias. If fertilizers are used, they must be placed several inches below the bulbs, never in contact with them. As in outdoor culture, the bulbs must be planted late and in soil well dried by placing the sashes over the frame some time beforehand. Plant about 3 inches deep, as far apart, and treat afterward much as in greenhouse culture. Take off the sashes in early May to show the mass of rich, odd flowers which, ordinarily, will open about that time and last for several weeks. If the frame is to have other tenants through the summer, the ixias may be taken up after their tops are dead and stored in dry sand till planting time comes around again. Otherwise, merely cease watering as the tops of the ixias die down, and put on the sashes again, tilting them so that they will give air and shed rain. (L. Greenlee.)

Outdoor culture of ixia is likely to be more satisfactory than indoor culture, if one meets the few simple requirements. The planting of the bulbs should be delayed until the last moment, because ixias are more inclined than most things to make an autumnal growth. They should be planted 3 inches deep as late as November 30. In planting bulbs it is always well to sprinkle a handful of sand on the spot where they are to lie. This helps the drainage, especially on heavy lands, and prevents rotting. The bulbs should then be covered with about 3 inches of leaves, hay, or better still, pine- needles. In the latitude of Boston, ixia beds can be uncovered during the first week of April. However, there will still be sharp frosts to nip the tender shoots that have started beneath the winter covering. Consequently a little hay or other covering material should be left nearby, where it can be easily secured when a chilly evening threatens. In ten days the young sprouts will become sufficiently hardened to withstand any subsequent cold. Even such hardy things as alliums, when first uncovered, can hardly withstand any frost at all. It is, however, a mistake to wait two weeks longer and then permanently uncover the bulb beds, for by that time the early-starting things are likely to be so lank and long that they never attain ideal sturdiness. It is better to uncover top early than too late. The secret of success with ixias outdoors is largely in hardening the plants in early spring and in never allowing them to grow too fast under coyer, where they become yellow and sickly. In winter, shutters may be placed over the bulb beds to shed the rain; but the bulbs do as well without this protection, though they may be later in starting. Of course, ixia bulbs cannot stand any freezing, and they must, therefore, be planted in unfrozen soil.—After flowering, let the bulbs remain in the earth until the end of July; then take them up, and store them, not in dry earth, but in boxes without any packing. Let them remain in a dry place until they are wanted for November planting. In the southern part of England, ixias can be planted 6 inches deep in hardy borders as late as December, and Krelage, perhaps thinking of still warmer regions, considers ixias as summer-blooming bulbs, and advises planting from October to December.—In the writer's experience, the flowers from the old bulbs are not at all inferior in succeeding years: indeed, the contrary has been the case, and the bulbs raised at home have been superior to the ones purchased. Amateurs are commonly advised to throw away the offsets because fresh bulbs are cheap. Yet the writer finds that many of the offsets bloom the first year and nearly all of them the second. Ixias have been raised commercially near Boston with every prospect of success. Ixias are amongst the most pleasing of all bulbs. With thousands in bloom in the month of June, they make a braver show even than tulips, and they are less known to the public. (W. E. Endicott.)

In California, ixias, with which may be grouped for cultural purposes such other South African irids as sparaxis, babianas, and tritonias, are of all bulbs the best adapted to California conditions, thriving outdoors with the minimum of care, increasing very rapidly by offsets, and even forming colonies from self-sown seed. Planting should be done as soon as the imported bulbs are available, usually in October. They should be put about 2 inches deep and as far apart as taste dictates, —say 3 inches, if space is valuable. Good drainage is essential and a sandy loam much better than heavy adobe, although the writer has grown them successfully in both. Divide every alternate year to prevent crowding. Pick the brightest place in the garden, as the flowers require strong sunlight to open them up well. This is especially true of the green kind, I. viridiflora.—To raise new varieties, sow seed in autumn, the resultant bulbs blooming the second season. Some of the best varieties in California are self-sown seedlings, the result of crosses between good named varieties in neighboring beds. After a start has been made, there is no reason why the American supply of these bulbs should not be grown in California, as they ripen very well and are of greater vigor than the imported ones.— Where space is limited, ixias may be planted among daffodils, thus renewing the show a month after the latter are over. As both bulbs ripen together, in harvesting this is no drawback. For garden effect, large plantings of separate, clear-colored, named varieties are much better than mixtures. The flowering season covers about six weeks, the pretty cerise I. speciosa, (I. crateroides) blooming in March, while the brilliant brick-red Vulcan is sometimes as late as May. (Sidney B. Mitchell.)


aristata, 8. bicolorata, 9. caeisia, 4. cana, 4. columellaris, 6. crateroides, 13. elegans, 8. flavescens, 9. flexuosa, 11. longiflora, 1. lutea, 10. maculata, 5. monadelpha, 3. nigro-albida, 5. ochroleuca. 5. odorata, 2. ornata. 5, 9. ovata. 7. paniculata, 1. patens, 12. polyatachya, 9. speciosa, 13. stellata, 7. viridiflora, 4.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



Pests and diseases


The genus Ixia includes the following species:

Ixia can be a name.




External links

blog comments powered by Disqus
Personal tools
Bookmark and Share