Tuesday, August 21, 2007
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.