When all other perennials have faded, there is one South African species that shines. Hesperantha flower from Autumn to the end of the year, with bright star shaped flowers in shades of red to pink. These under valued perennials are easy to grow, exotic and are about to become garden trendy, thanks to the increased range of cultivars and range of colours. They have the added advantage of producing quality and quantity of flowers, without taking up too much room
Hesperantha, formally known as Schizostylis, are a genus of about 80 species of rhizomatous flowering plants in the family Iridaceae, the bulk of which come from high summer rainfall areas in South Africa. The most common example of this beautiful lily in Uk horticulture is Hesperantha coccinea and it is from this outstanding species that there are several selections and cultivars now available.
All Hesperantha have evergreen sword shaped leaves and produce flower stems of up to 60cm high. Growth may be semi evergreen in areas that have regular winter frosts .
Plant Hesperantha in a sheltered site, away from strong winds. Dig in plenty of organic matter to the planting area and ensure the planting position does not dry out completely during the summer. Hesperantha is well suited to planting near ponds, streams or other water features.
Plants require plenty of irrigation from April to October, with less water over winter. Feed well through out summer and provide a mulch of dry bark over winter, particularly in areas prone to harsh winters.
Great cultivars and species selections include:
Hesperantha coccinea ‘Major’, with strong stems of bright red flowers. Unmissable in any boarder.
Hesperantha coccinea ‘Pink Princess’ , Dainty white flowers tinged with apple pink.
Hesperantha coccinea 'Oregon Sunset’, Scarlet to Cerise Pink flowers. A new cultivar.
Hesperantha coccinea “Mollie Gould’ . Pink flowers and a relatively new cultivar.
All of the above are available from Blue Nurseries.