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Babiana stricta hybrid (photo courtesy of San Marcos Growers)
Babiana stricta hybrid (photo courtesy of San Marcos Growers)

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Zone
Zones 4-24, 29-31
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Babiana

Baboon Flower
Iridaceae
Bulbs and bulblike plants

Native to sub-Saharan Africa. These plants are grown for spikes of freesialike flowers. In mid- to late spring, each flowering stem produces six or more blooms, each to 2 in. across. Strongly ribbed, usually hairy leaves typically grow in fans. Corms are reportedly tasty to baboons, hence the plant’s common name.

B. rubrocyanea has ruby-throated royal blue blossoms. B. stricta has royal-blue blossoms

Plant 4 in. deep and 4 to 6 in. apart along the edge of a border or path, in a rock garden, or in deep pots. In mild-winter climates, plant in fall; in cold-winter areas, plant in early spring, waiting until temperatures remain above 20°F/–7°C. Cut back on water as leaves yellow. Trim off foliage after it dies back. Where corms can overwinter in ground, leave them in place for several years—they’ll increase and bloom more profusely with each year. Beyond their hardiness range, dig and store as for gladiolus.

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