Growing Chasmanthe Plants: Learn About Chasmanthe Plant Care


By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Chasmanthe is a fabulous plant that is related to the iris. Chasmanthe flowers stem from frost tender bulbs and appear in summer. They come in a rainbow of colors and provide vertical interest at the back of low growing perennial beds or as ushers along a path.

If you are looking for a plant that complements your waterbill, look no further than Chasmanthe. This droughttolerant bulb produces eye-popping flowers in almost every hue. Keepreading for tips on how to grow Chasmanthe and what winter care might benecessary.

About Chasmanthe Flowers

Chasmanthe is native to South Africa and one of the true heat seeking plants. In the wild, the plant grows in rocky outcrops. Some species occur where there is plentiful rainfall, while others grow in more arid regions.

Gardeners growing Chasmanthe plants in warm regions, may need to take heed, though, as the plants can become invasive.

The long, wide leaves grow 2 to 5 feet (.61-1.5 m.) tall.Stems emerge in late winter, followed by these big leaves. Next comes theflower stems and, finally, the tubular three-inch (7.6 cm.) blooms. The flowerscome in every color of the sunset and deeper reds as well.

How to Grow Chasmanthe

Growing these beauties starts with planting Chasmanthe cormsin late summer to fall. Select a sunny location in well-drainingsoil where the plant will receive average nutrient needs. Dig trenchesabout five inches deep (13 cm.) and space the cormsseveral inches apart.

They will make a showy display if planted in wide patches.Once planted, water once a week deeply for a month. After that, the plant willneed no special irrigation unless summers are particularly dry, hot, and harsh.Other astonishing ways of growing Chasmanthe plants is at the front of a hedgeor dotted among perennials.

Chasmanthe Plant Care

Although it is true that after planting Chasmanthe cormsthere is very little care during the growing season, in some regions, the plantwill need other special attention.

In areas that freeze or get a great deal of rain, lift andstore the corms after the foliage has died back. Plant them out in spring afterall danger of frost has passed.

In warm regions, leave the corms but divide them every 7 to10 years. Cut the foliage back once it is brown and dead.

These are easy growing, lovely flowers that will returnannually to brighten up your landscape.

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Lovely Winter Flowering Plants for Gardens: Chasmanthe

Chasmanthe is a small genus of winter flowering plants from the family of Iris mainly from South Africa. These winter-growing plants are known for their attractive flowers of red, orange and yellow flowers that grow along a tall stalk, which makes these lovely plants stand out from their neighbors.

Chasmanthes are propagated from corms and produce sword-like leaves that grow up to 1 meter. Most species form small colonies that require bright sunlight and a moist soil. Colonies of Chasmanthe can be planted in landscapes, garden borders or in the background of flowering beds where both the foliage and flowers make an excellent show.

Chasmanthe aethiopica/ Image by faroutflora.com

Popular species of Chasmanthe include:

Chasmanthe floribunda grows up to 1.5 meters and produces brilliant orange-red flowers in winter or spring.

Chasmanthe floribunda var. duckittii is an easy-to-grow variety with lovely yellow flowers.

Chasmanthe bicolor has small growth and produces scarlet flowers in midwinter or spring.

Chasmanthe aethiopica or Cobra Lily grows up to 1.5 feet and bears prominent deep-orange flowers on tall spikes.

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Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!


Chasmanthe Species, Adam's Rib, African Cornflag, Orange Cobra Lily, Pennants

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Chasmanthe (chas-MAN-thee) (Info)
Species: floribunda (flor-ih-BUN-duh) (Info)
Synonym:Antholyza floribunda
Synonym:Petamenes floribunda

Category:

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Foliage:

Foliage Color:

Height:

Spacing:

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Danger:

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed sow indoors before last frost

From seed direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds

Regional

This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Casa de Oro-Mount Helix, California

Manhattan Beach, California

Gardeners' Notes:

On Jul 7, 2012, manza from Long Beach, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

This is also called Greater Cobra Lily.

On Feb 1, 2009, Susan_C from Alameda, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is one tough plant never bothered by snails and slugs and requires absolutely no care, except for regular water. It does well in full sun to almost full shade. Here, it begins to bloom in late January/early Feburary and continues for about a month.

Both humans and hummingbirds are happy to see these bright orange flowers during a time when the rest of the garden is mostly dormant. They do seed around and the corms multiply as well, but I find them very easy to pull up if they appear where I don't want them. A friend of mine has them planted along a fence that has Hardenbergia growing up it. The Hardenbergia blooms at the same time, and the vivid combo of purple and orange is pretty eye-popping.

On Dec 29, 2008, davidjoburg from Johannesburg,
South Africa wrote:

Chasmanthe floribunda var. duckittii is an attractive deciduous, winter-growing, cormous geophyte with fresh green sword-shaped leaves and spikes of canary yellow long-tubed flowers during winter to early spring. A corm is a bulb-like, shortened, swollen underground stem with one or more regenerative buds on it, enclosed by dry, scale-like leaf bases called tunics. Like a true bulb, it is a food store for the plant. Dormant during the summer, the corms resprout in autumn (March-April in South Africa)) with the onset of cooler wet weather, the leaves growing to a height of approx. 1 m. Chasmanthe flowers are pollinated by sunbirds. The fruit is a capsule of large, rounded orange seeds.

Chasmanthe floribunda plants form small colonies and prefer sunny, well watered sites. In n. read more ature they are found in dampish spots on rocky outcrops. This particular variety with its distinctive yellow flowers, is only found in a few locations in the vicinity of Darling. The more common and widespread variety Chasmanthe floribunda var. floribunda has orange-red flowers and is found in coastal and montane flora on sandstone and granite soils from the Bokkeveld mountains to Hermanus.

Chasmanthe is a purely South African genus with three species, Chasmanthe aethiopica, Chasmanthe bicolor and Chasmanthe floribunda, all of which occur only in the Cape flora.

Chasmanthe floribunda var. duckittii was named in honour of the Duckitt family of Darling. They created wildflower reserves and have been instrumental in the operation of the spring wildflower shows in Darling. The genus name Chasmanthe is derived from the Greek 'chasme' meaning gaping and 'anthos' meaning flower, alluding to the shape of the corolla. The specific name 'floribunda' is Latin for many-flowered, or producing abundant flowers. Chasmanthe floribunda was initially classified as Pentamenes floribunda and may be found by that name in the older botanical literature.

A large bed of Chasmanthe floribunda var. duckittii can be found at the main entrance to Kirstenbosch in Cape Town, along the road between the main entrance and the Visitor Centre and in the Visitor Centre car park. They can also be found in a bed just above the Waterwise Garden. In all cases they are interplanted with either evergreen or deciduous species of Agapanthus, as they compliment each other very well. The Agapanthus is a summer grower with flowers in mid to late summer, while the Chasmanthe is a winter grower, with flowers in mid-winter to early spring. Thus, when the Chasmanthe is underground, the Agapanthus is there to fill the gap, and vice versa.

On Jun 21, 2004, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

We have this growing behind a long area in the shade. It provides an excellent background EXCEPT it invades like crazy unless you clip the spent flowers to prevent the seeds from dropping everywhere. The hummers love it, and it is one of the earliest spring hummer foods when very little else is blooming in January. Very reliable sturdy plant.

A cormous perennial from South Africa.

Has bright green, lance shaped leaves. Bears slim, tubular, orange or yellow flowers that can reach up to 3 inches long. The flowers are arranged on the flower spike opposite each other.

Flowers mainly June-August.

Loves a well-drained but constantly moist soil in a sheltered area in sun or light shade. It is just about frost hardy so it will need to be brought indoors during winter or in regions where frost is infrequent, given a deep mulch.

The plant pictured was bought 2 years ago as a corm, it was duly planted and produced 2 weak, thin leaves for the first year that died after a month of appearing. December 2002, I rediscovered the pot in the greenhouse and it had produced the leaves you . read more see here!


Plants→Chasmanthe→Adam's Rib (Chasmanthe bicolor)

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle:Perennial
Sun Requirements:Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Minimum cold hardiness:Zone 9a -6.7 °C (20 °F) to -3.9 °C (25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone:Zone 10b
Plant Spread :Does form colonies from offsets
Leaves:Deciduous
Flowers:Showy
Flower Color:Bi-Color: Orange and yellow
Flower Time:Spring
Inflorescence Height :4-5 feet
Foliage Mound Height :3 feet
Underground structures:Corm
Uses:Provides winter interest
Wildlife Attractant:Hummingbirds
Propagation: Seeds:Days to germinate: 3-4 weeks
Depth to plant seed: 1.5"
Other info: The pea-sized seeds can be harvested from the plant as soon as the pods split.
Propagation: Other methods:Offsets
Other: Plants can be divided every 3-4 years during dormancy.
Containers:Suitable in 1 gallon
Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous:Endangered

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Chasmanthe floribunda 'Duckittii'

Common names: yellow cobra lily, yellow chasmanthe, Duckitt chasmanthe (Eng.) geelpiempiempie, geelkapelpypie, geelsuurkanolpypie, geelpypie (Afr.)

Introduction

Chasmanthe floribunda ''Duckittii' is an attractive deciduous, winter-growing, cormous geophyte with fresh green sword-shaped leaves and spikes of canary yellow long-tubed flowers during winter to early spring.

Description

Description

A corm is a bulb-like, shortened, swollen underground stem with one or more regenerative buds on it, enclosed by dry, scale-like leaf bases called tunics. Like a true bulb, it is a food store for the plant. Dormant during the summer, the corms resprout in autumn (March-April) with the onset of cooler wet weather, the leaves growing to a height of 0.4-1 m. Showy spikes of tubular yelow flowers are borne in winter to spring (July-Sept). The fruit is a capsule of large, rounded orange seeds.

Conservation Status

Status

Rare. This variety is found at only a few locations in the vicinity of the town of Darling in the Western Cape.

Distribution and habitat

Distribution description

Chasmanthe is a purely South African genus with three species, Chasmanthe aethiopica, Chasmanthe bicolor and Chasmanthe floribunda, all of which occur only in the Cape flora.

Chasmanthe floribunda plants form small colonies and prefer sunny, well watered sites. In nature they are found in dampish spots on rocky outcrops. This particular variety with its distinctive yellow flowers is only found in a few locations in the vicinity of Darling. The most common and widespread form of Chasmanthe floribunda has orange-red flowers and is found in coastal and montane flora on sandstone and granite soils from the Bokkeveld mountains to Hermanus.

Derivation of name and historical aspects

History

The genus name Chasmanthe is derived from the Greek chasme meaning gaping and anthos meaning flower, alluding to the shape of the corolla. The species name floribunda is Latin for many-flowered, or producing abundant flowers. Chasmanthe floribunda 'Duckitti' was named in honour of the Duckitt family of Darling. They created wildflower reserves and have been instrumental in the operation of the spring wildflower shows in Darling.

Chasmanthe floribunda was initially classified as Pentamenes floribunda and may be found by that name in the older botanical literature. Until recently, two varieties were recognised: Chasmanthe floribunda (Salisb.) N.E.Br. var. floribunda and Chasmanthe floribunda (Salisb.)N.E.Br. var. duckittii G.J.Lewis ex L.Bol.

Ecology

Ecology

Chasmanthe flowers are pollinated by sunbirds.

Chasmanthe floribunda 'Duckittii' is a popular garden plant, and is effective planted in groups in mixed beds and borders or en masse. A large bed of it can be found at the main entrance to Kirstenbosch. They can also be found in a bed just above the Waterwise Garden. In both cases they are interplanted with either evergreen or deciduous species of Agapanthus, as they complement each other very well. The Agapanthus is a summer grower with flowers in mid to late summer, while the Chasmanthe is a winter grower, with flowers in mid-winter to early spring. Thus, when the Chasmanthe is underground, the Agapanthus is there to fill the gap, and vice versa.

Growing Chasmanthe floribunda 'Duckittii'

Chasmanthe floribunda is easy to cultivate and is useful in the garden in that it will grow equally well in full sun or semi-shade. It is also known not to be subject to any serious pests or diseases.

The corms should be planted 3-5 cm deep and are best left undisturbed for several years. Corms that have been lifted and replanted will take at least a season to re-establish themselves and often will not flower the season after replanting. Chasmanthe requires a well-drained, well-composted soil, and will tolerate summer irrigation during the plants' dormant period, provided the soil is well-drained. The plants must be well-watered during autumn and winter which is their growing-season. Chasmanthe floribunda is tender to half-hardy and requires protection in very cold climates. It is considered unsuitable for permanent outdoor cultivation in climates colder than USDA zone 10 (-1 to 4 oC / 30 - 40 oF).

Propagation is by offsets and seed. Chasmanthe floribunda increases itself naturally by producing cormlets (small corms / offsets / daughter corms) around the base of the parent corm, which can be removed during the dormant period and replanted in early autumn. If left undisturbed they will grow up around the parent forming cormlets of their own so that in time a single plant can form a dense colony. Another curious habit is that the corm of a single plant, having flowered the previous season, will split to form two plants the following season. This is another means by which they proliferate to form dense colonies. Colonies can be lifted during the dormant period, divided and replanted in early autumn.

Seed is sown in autumn (March- May), in trays deep enough to give sufficient room for the growth of the developing rootstock a 10-cm deep tray is recommended. The medium must be well-drained and should be kept moist but not wet. The trays must be kept in a semi-shaded position for the first season. The young corms can be planted out into the garden at the beginning of their second season, when some of them may flower for the first time.

References

  • Duncan, G., personal communication.
  • Du Plessis, N. & Duncan, G. 1989. Bulbous plants of southern Africa, a guide to their cultivation and propagation. Tafelberg, Cape Town.
  • Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J. 2000. Cape Plants. A conspectus of the Cape flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria & Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri.
  • Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Red Data List of Southern African Plants. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria
  • Jackson, W.P.U. 1990. Origins and meanings of names of South African plant genera . University of Cape Town.

Credits

Jacqueline Esau & Alice Notten
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
July 2001, updated March 2016


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