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Babiana

Baboon Flower
Iridaceae
Bulbs and bulblike plants

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. 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.

Babiana stricta
Babiana stricta

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Babiana stricta

Native to sub-Saharan Africa. Ribbed, usually hairy leaves grow in fans that give rise to 1-ft. spikes of freesia-like, 2-in. royal blue flowers in mid- to late spring. Purple, lavender, white, and blue-and-white blooms are also available.

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