Harlequin Flower
Sparaxis tricolor

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sparaxis (spa-RAKS-iss) (Info)
Species: tricolor (TRY-kull-lur) (Info)

Category:

Alpines and Rock Gardens

Bulbs

Perennials

Height:

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

Spacing:

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

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)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

N/A

Bloom Color:

Pale Pink

Pink

Rose/Mauve

Magenta (Pink-Purple)

Fuchsia (Red-Purple)

Red

Scarlet (Dark Red)

Coral/Apricot

Orange

Red-Orange

Violet/Lavender

Purple

Maroon (Purple-Brown)

White/Near White

Cream/Tan

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Foliage:

Deciduous

Other details:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Flowers are good for cutting

Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

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

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From bulbils

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tucson, Arizona

Canoga Park, California

Citrus Heights, California

Davis, California

Huntington Beach, California

Long Beach, California

Martinez, California

Oak View, California

Sacramento, California (2 reports)

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

San Jose, California

Santa Barbara, California

Pensacola, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

Hawkinsville, Georgia

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Fate, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Houston, Texas

Kalama, Washington

Seattle, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

8
positives
1
neutral
1
negative
RatingContent
Positive

On Apr 2, 2014, eolivas103 from Las Cruces, NM (Zone 8a) wrote:

Well I didn't catch it at the time but these flowers are not supposed to grow in my zone and they struggled greatly during the winter....but they made it through. And I am so glad now I didn't notice the zone requirement when I ordered them because I have really enjoyed these little flowers and their spectacular markings. They may be tall for other people but either because of the winter struggle, imaturity or bad soil; they were small for me. I really hope they make it through many more winters for me. Also, I appreciate the comments about letting them go to seed. I have been deadheading but will stop and see what happens. Update: These plants emerge in the Fall here, and after letting them go to seed, Yes - I have babies. I mention the fall sprouting though because if you grow the... read more

Positive

On Mar 28, 2010, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:

Somewhat hide-and-seek...a surprise to find them...they have such a bright center that it wakes up the surrounding greenery.

Positive

On Feb 16, 2010, degger from Huntington Beach, CA wrote:

25 small bulbs planted Oct. '07 and since have rapidly multiplied and provided most eye-catching color patterns. Leaves are vulnerable to gastropods.

Positive

On Mar 21, 2007, parrot22 from Pensacola, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Gorgeous multitude of blooms, the pictures do not do this plant justice.The stems do get heavy with the flowers but are easily staked.

Positive

On Apr 2, 2006, Sheila_FW from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I am not sure who I got these from, not knowing what they were or the name, I put them in the ground in a back bed and forgot them. Well they bloomed a variety of colors that deserve a better location next year. Thanks to the ID forum I was able to get more information on them. I will be moving them to the front yard in the fall!

Positive

On Mar 9, 2006, joedelta from Citrus Heights, CA wrote:

If you let sparaxis go to seed, and don't deadhead or mow them, they spread profusely and in great variety of colors.

It's easy to transplant the corms after they spring up in the fall -- just dig them up, separate, and plunk them down wherever you like them.

Neutral

On Dec 30, 2004, brandnewgirl133 from Box Springs, GA wrote:

I have just started growing this plant,but it is a very fast grower!It's very close to blooming,and I can't wait!It gets pretty tall.I'll give more info later.

Positive

On May 18, 2004, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

The flowers are exquisite. I especially like the red. I've never had a problem with the flower stalks not standing up.

Positive

On Apr 11, 2004, Lophophora from Tokyo
Japan wrote:

Sorry to disagree with people, but...

There are a thousand ways to support weak stems:
1. Planting among stronger growers.
2. Stakes.
3. Group plantings.
4. 1,997 other ways that slip my mind at the moment.. ;)

This flower is well worth the extra effort.

Negative

On Apr 9, 2004, frogsrus from San Diego, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is a beautiful flower but it grows so tall here that it cannot hold itself up without being staked. The stems are just too thin. It is hard to enjoy flowers that are face first in the dirt.