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Zones 13, 15-24
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Minimal Water
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Chasmanthe

Iridaceae
Perennials, Flowers

These South African natives send up their 2-ft. irislike fans of bright green leaves shortly after the first rains of autumn. Narrow, 3–3 1/2-ft.-high spikes of bright orange-red flowers follow in late winter or early spring, putting on a striking early show. Plants are fairly hardy, but late frosts may damage flower buds.

In fall, plant corms 4 in. deep and 8–12 in. apart in well-drained soil. Corms multiply rapidly; dig and divide every 2 to 3 years. These plants spread easily; great for naturalizing. They are roadside weeds in some areas. During summer dormancy, plants don–t need (but tolerate some) irrigation.

Chasmanthe floribunda, photo courtesy of Joshua McCullough/PhytoPhoto
Chasmanthe floribunda, photo courtesy of Joshua McCullough/PhytoPhoto

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Chasmanthe floribunda

Unbranched and once-branched spikes bear blossoms along both sides; each spike carries 12–28 flowers. C. f. duckittii has yellow flowers.

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