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BABIANA rubrocyanea

Image of Babiana rubrocyanea

Robert Smaus

Family

Iridaceae

Botanical Name

BABIANA rubrocyanea

Plant Common Name

Baboon Flower

General Description

A flamboyant little "bulb" for Mediterranean- and desert-climate gardens, Babiana rubrocyanea is grown for its late-winter and early-spring display of large, deep-blue, red-eyed blooms. It is native to sandy scrubland habitats in the Southwest Cape region of South Africa.

This member of the iris family produces low fans of hairy, pleated, sword-shaped leaves. They arise in late fall or winter from rounded, deeply buried corms with fibrous "tunics." The unscented, 2-inch-wide, bowl-shaped blooms are borne in compact, few-flowered spikes. Each bloom is blue to violet-blue with a large, iridescent, currant-red eye. The flowers are followed by small rounded seed capsules. Plants may self-sow in favorable climates.

Babiana are delightful little garden "bulbs" for regions that have dry summers and mild, relatively moist winters. They tolerate desert conditions but do poorly in hot humid climates. Plants perform best in ample sunlight and well-drained, moisture-retentive soil. In areas with cold winters, the corms can be dug in fall and replanted in spring for late spring or summer bloom). Spring bulb catalogs sometimes offer corms of Babiana for planting as summer-blooming annuals.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    2"-6" / 5.1cm - 15.2cm

  • Width

    3"-4" / 7.6cm - 10.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    South Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Red, Blue

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Light Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes