Tuesday, August 21, 2007

TIGRIDIA




I have been growing Tigridia pavonia (Mexican Shell Flower) off and on for years. It's a bulb that is native to Mexico and I really enjoy the very different almost orchid like look it has. Far from the Orchid family, Trigridia is a member of the Iris family and is closely related to the Gladiola. The foliage resembles that of a Gladiola but more delicate, and the flowers grow on a thin stalk with generally 3 to 5 flowers opening individually. Each 5 to 6 inch flower only lasts one day but the blooming period for this plant lasts for about 4 weeks.
I grow mine in pots because they are only hardy to 20 degrees. Instead of digging them in Fall before dormancy I simply let the pots dry out and store them in my garage or protected area until the weather warms in Spring. This is a great trick with many none cold hardy bulbs like Ixia, Freesia, and Sparaxis. Plus all these bulbs like to be dry during dormancy.
Tigridia prefers full sun and ample water. It can get spider mites which I take care of with systemic pesticide and fertilizer combo. I don't mind using something so strong because it stays in the pot. I do this on other potted plants that might be susceptible to thrips, aphids, spider mites, etc. Basically it prevents any chewing, chomping, or sucking insects.

Tigridia is a wonderful bulb that should find a place in any garden.

9 comments:

Andrea's Garden said...

Hi Bob, what a beautiful plant. I have never seen that over here. Thanks for the tip with the Freesias. They are my favorite cut flowers. My mom always got those for me on my birthday. I have not had luck growing them. Been wondering what I am doing wrong. Have a nice day, Andrea

Anita said...

That was very interesting, Bob! Like Andrea, I've never heart of Tigridia before....

Thanks for your advice on my rose questions! Oh yes, I now David Austin roses, they are very favourite over here, too! But I've never heart about Jackson Perkins roses, I've been on their webside but they just deliver to the US and do not send their catalogue overseas...

By the way, I've taken a decision today! I won't plant my two small Biedermeier roses next to the Sissinghurst bench. What do you think of two tree roses on both sides! The roses will then be at eye level! Now, I just need to chose a nice variety! Oh, that could be a quite hard job....

Best wishes, Anita

Layanee said...

Bob: I've not seen that plant before so thank you! More for 'the list'. Great shots and it is very orchid like isn't it. Thanks!

Bob said...

Andrea, freesia is also a flower I really like. You can't beat the fragrance. My father has been growing freesia for years in his garden. Keeping them in a pot and bringing them in to the garage really works. Also it is very important to let the pot dry out before storing it away. Let me know how it works for you. BOB


Anita, Having a cluster of roses would work well next your bench (if you have the space for it). It's a good size bench, so it could handle the visual weight of the plants. Also, by placing flowers and plants around the bench it helps anchor it and helps it become intergrated in the yard design.
All the best, BOB


Layanee, thank you for the kind words. I hope you get some of theses, they are really fun. BOB

lisa said...

What a pretty flower! I've never heard of these, but sounds like a good houseplant for me! Thanks for the post!

Shady Gardener said...

I just "found" your blog. (Thanks for having one!) Hope you don't mind a question. I'm in a cold zone. Could I bring Tigridia inside during the winter, or does it need to rest?

I tried an orchid last year. I guess those are just not for me...

Bob said...

Shady Gardener, The tigridia can't be brought inside. These bulbs don't make it when winter-overred inside the house. They goes dormant in Fall. Grow them in a pot in a sunny location. Once they are in bloom feed it with inorganic fertilizer, like Scotts Miracle grow, Then and 2 weeks later feed it again. This will help the bulbs grow bigger for next year. About a month after it blooms stop watering it and put it in a area that is sunny but where it can't get wet. Once the foliage dies cut it to the ground and put it in a dry place in the garage. Some place where it is cool but not freezing. In cold areas unheated garages don't work well. Generally to cold. Next Spring a week or two before your last frost place outside and start watering. This process works well with Ixia, spraxis, and Freesia too. Hope this helps. I enjoy questions. All the best, BOB

Kylee said...

I also grow Tigridia and love its unique flowers! I got mine in the ground kind of late this year, but they're blooming now and we're loving their freckles. :-)

Diane said...

Hi Bob! I live in Pacific NW and finally found some Tigridia bulbs and planted them this spring. They came up OK but the leaves are all falling over. I planted at the depth recommended on the label (tops about 2-3" below surface). They usually have a chance to dry out between waterings but are mixed in with other plants. They get 2/3 sun. Do you think I need to pull these up and then replant deeper next spring? We get lots of rain in the winter. Thanks for any help you can give me.