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Tritonia crocata (photo courtesy of Bob Wigand)
Tritonia crocata (photo courtesy of Bob Wigand)

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Zone
Zones 9, 13-24
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Tritonia crocata

Iridaceae
Perennials, Flowers

South African native related to freesia, harlequin flower (Sparaxis), ixia, and montbretia (Crocosmia). Often called flame freesia. Fans of swordlike leaves to 1 ft. long grow in early spring, followed in late spring by flower spikes holding bright orange-red flowers above the foliage. Blooms are funnel-shaped, up to 2 in. across, and long lasting in a vase. Foliage dies down after bloom, re-emerges the next spring. Good in rock gardens and borders.

T. c. miniata has bright red blooms. ‘Princess Beatrix’ has deep orange flowers. Others may be offered in white, yellow, and pink shades. For the plant sometimes called T. crocosmiiflora, see Crocosmia crocosmiiflora.

Plant corms in well-drained soil, setting them 2–3 in. deep and 3 in. apart. Plant in fall where winter temperatures remain above 20°F (–7°C); wait until spring in colder areas. Corms can remain in the ground where hardy, but they are likely to rot unless the planting area is kept fairly dry during summer dormancy. Divide overcrowded plantings during the dormant period. Where corms cannot be protected and in colder regions, dig and store over winter or grow in containers.

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