Bulbose: Chasmanthe floribunda

Bulbose: Chasmanthe floribunda

Classification, origin and description

Family: Iridaceae
Species: Chasmanthe floribunda (Salisb.) N. E. Br.
Common name: African gladiolus

Typology: Perennials, Bulbose
Propagation: division of bulbs

Etymology: the name of the genus comes from the Greek chasme with his mouth open, and “Anthos"Flower.

It is a perennial, deciduous herbaceous plant native to South Africa. Three distinct species belong to the chasmanthe genus: C. aethiopica; C. floribunda; C two-tone. Chasmanthe floribunda is the most common and has ribbon-like leaves about 2 cm wide, light green; during late spring and summer, fleshy arched stems depart between the tufts of leaves, bearing spikes of an intense orange color.

Chasmanthe floribunda (photo Shelagh Fritz)

How it is grown

The corms are rounded in shape and somewhat flattened. The soil must be well drained, sandy and rich in organic matter; the ideal exposure is in partial shade.
The corms are to be planted in autumn at about 6/8 cm of depth with the tips facing upwards. The leaves and flowers develop in late spring-early summer. After flowering, the foliage remains lush. At the end of the summer the leaves turn yellow and must be removed. It must be left in the place of planting since it does not like transplants.
The intense cold can damage it and therefore it is necessary to mulch on the surface.
During rest it should be watered only sporadically. During the vegetative period, water regularly avoiding stagnant water.
In the spring it is advisable to administer a specific fertilizer for flowering, every two weeks.
It reproduces by division of the tufts every 4-5 years or by separation of the bulbils

Chasmanthe floribunda bulbs (website photo)

Diseases, pests and adversities

It can be attacked by aphids and fungal diseases.

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