Sparaxis flowers grow from fall planted corms, blooming in spring. The corms are smaller than most spring bulbs, often no bigger than ½ to 1 inch across. The flowers bloom in various colors with most blooms having two or more colors on each petal. There are many varieties to choose from, so creating a colorful spring garden can be done with sparaxis alone. While technically a perennial, sparaxis is often grown as an annual and replanted each fall before the first autumn frost.
Prepare the bed for sparaxis in fall when the soil temperature reaches 45 degrees Fahrenheit, approximately four to six weeks before the first fall frost. Choose a well-draining bed in full sun.
Lay a 3-inch layer of mature compost over the entire bed. Till it in to a 9- to 12-inch depth using a hoe or power tiller.
Perform a soil test following the instructions in the test kit, available at garden centers or through your local extension office. Apply a phosphorous fertilizer to the soil following the recommendations of the soil test.
Plant each corm root side down to a soil depth of 2 to 3 inches. Space corms 6 inches apart in clusters or rows.
Water the bed so it is evenly moist throughout after planting. Lay a 2-inch layer of organic mulch over the bed to preserve soil moisture throughout winter and spring.
Apply a complete fertilizer to the bed in spring before the sparaxis begins blooming. Use 3 lb. of fertilizer per every 100 square feet of garden bed.
Things You Will Need
- Power tiller
- Soil test kit
- In areas with mild winters and little freezing, sparaxis can be grown as a perennial and won't require replanting each year.
- Purchase corms in early fall while the garden centers and nurseries have a large selection of colors and varieties. Store in a dry, cool place until it is time to plant in later fall.
- Make sure the bed you choose will not become waterlogged from snow melt or water runoff during the spring. This causes sparaxis corms to rot in the ground.