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Tigridia pavonia
Tigridia pavonia

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Zones 4-31, H1
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Full, Partial
Regular Water

Tigridia pavonia

Tiger Flower, Mexican Shell Flower
Bulbs and bulblike plants, Perennials

Mexican native with flashy summertime flowers. Fans of narrow, swordlike, ribbed leaves to 1 1/2 ft. long send up erect, 2 1/2-ft. flower stems bearing triangular blossoms that can be 6 in. across. Flowers have three large outer segments in orange, red, pink, yellow, or white; cuplike center and three small inner segments are usually boldly blotched with contrasting color. (Immaculata strain is unspotted.) Each flower lasts only one day, but the bloom period usually lasts for several weeks.

Plant in spring, after weather warms up (night temperatures should not fall below 60°F/16°C). Plant in well-drained soil, setting bulbs 2–4 in. deep and 4–8 in. apart. Stop watering after flowering is finished and when leaves turn yellow. Can be left in the ground where hardy; divide every 3 or 4 years, digging in fall and waiting until spring planting time to separate bulbs and replant. Spider mites are the main pest (they cause yellowish or whitish streaks on foliage); begin control when leaves are several inches long. Gophers are fond of the bulbs. Beyond the hardiness range, dig bulbs after leaves yellow and store as for gladiolus; or grow in containers and protect in winter.

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