The Evening Flower
Another group of South African bulbs, Hesperantha coccinea (syn. Schizostylis) is one of the most widely grown of the genus Hesperantha. These are actually a rhizome or corm rather than a true bulb, and with over 60 species in the genus and in Australia they are mostly evergreen to semi evergreen.
Hesperantha are often referred to as the ‘evening flower’. Hesperantha coccinea is called the ‘river lily’ and grows well at the edge of a pond flowers are usually red to pink or white, large open and star shaped on tall spikes to nearly 1m tall. They look a little like a gladioli and are indeed related. Flowers appear in Autumn which is an added attraction at this time of the year.
Flowering from summer through to autumn, you can encourage more flowers by deadheading on a regular basis. The flowers make excellent cut flowers and are grown commercially for this purpose. And yes the name has changed from Schizostylis coccinea to Hesperantha coccinea, they are still found under the old name in some catalogues.
- Hesperantha coccinea ‘Major Red’ – Red flowers on tall stems.
- Hesperantha coccinea ‘Pink’ – Pale pink flowers.
These plants are also known as the river lily, this gives us some idea of the growing conditions, moist and well drained.
- Height – will reach around 60 cm to 75 cm in height.
- Spread – Corms will divide and spread to form a large clump.
- Position – Full sun.
- Soil – Moist rich and even boggy. Although they will grow in drier conditions.
- Foliage – Green and strap like. Evergreen in warmer climates, semis deciduous in cooler areas.
- Flowers – Variable from Orange to pink and a pale mauve to nearly white..
- Flowering period – Summer Autumn, although they will flower at other times of the year depending on conditions.
Hesperantha are available for sale from the following nurseries.
P O Box 398 Creswick Vic 3363
Retail & Mail Order Specialist Growers of Heritage Roses, Unusual Perennials, Tree & Herbaceous Peonies. Mail order and Nursery Sales.
'Sylvan Vale' 375 Olinda Creek Rd, Kalorama, VIC.3766
Including a large range of Rare and unusual bulbs, corms and perennials