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Baboon flower

Babiana stricta

Called the Baboon flower as it is believed that baboons dig up the bulbs to eat them. The brightly coloured, cup-shaped flowers of this species have a scent that is reminiscent of frangipanis. It is a wonderful addition to any rockery or water-wise garden as it requires little watering. It prefers well-drained, sandy soils.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Winter
Fruiting time
Spring

Harvesting

This species isn't the ideal cut-flower as a single flower only lasts a day, but the flower-stalk can continue flowering once picked, but for only a day or two depending on postharvest treatments. Bulbs must be lifted and stored with shredded newspaper or wood shavings in areas that receive frost.

Propagation

Division
Baby cormlets can be broken off the base of large corms during dormancy. These should be planted in well-drained soil with the tip of the corm just below the soil surface.
Seed
Sow seeds in well-draining sand soil - keep moist until germinated!

Special features

Attracts useful insects
Bees and butterflies are attracted by the nectar that is produced by the flowers.
Drought resistant
This is a water-wise species as it becomes dormant during dry periods and it only actively grows after the first winter rains have fallen.
Pot plant
This is a great bulb species to plant in containers, but must be planted with other evergreen plants or bulbs as the plant dies back during the summer.

Geography

Origin
Sub-Saharan Africa to Namaqualand in the Western Cape of South Africa.
Natural climate
Winter rainfall

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Dry
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Acid, Neutral
Frost hardiness
Half-Hardy

Personality

Family
Iridaceae
Flower colour
Colours range from blue to mauve, red, white and cream.
Scent
Mild

Problems

Generally not affected by pests, but it tends to be susceptible to Fusaruim fungus if planted in poor-draining soil.

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