SPARAXIS, harlequin flower

SPARAXIS, harlequin flower
Sparaxis bulbifera (Flower) 2.jpg
Sparaxis bulbifera
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Ixioideae
Tribe: Ixieae
Genus: Sparaxis
Type species
Sparaxis bulbifera
  • Anactorion Raf.
  • ×Sparanthera Cif. & Giacom.
  • Streptanthera Sweet
  • Synnotia Sweet

Sparaxis (harlequin flower) is a genus in the family Iridaceae with about 13 species endemic to Cape Province, South Africa.

All are perennials that grow during the wet winter season, flower in spring and survive underground as dormant corms over summer.

Sparaxis tricolor has bright red flowers with yellow and black centres. The genus name is derived from the Greek word sparasso, meaning “to tear”, and alludes to the shape of the floral bracts.

Sparaxis tricolor, known by the common names wandflower,harlequin flower, and sparaxis, is a bulb-forming perennial plant that grows in well-drained sunny soil. It gained its name from its colorful flowers which are bi- or tri-coloured with a golden centre and a small ring of brown surrounded by another colour.

Date Planted

May 29, 2018. 60 Bulbs harlequin flower, Spaxis

Purchase Info

2018 Belgium, Brand Florex bought on sale (1 euro a packet) from brico Florex 60 Spraxis Mix




Diseases and Problems

generally pest and problem free


plant bulbs 8 cm deep, 10 cm apart. Plant will be 25 cm tall.

Sow Outside: Spacing 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm).
Seed: Cover seed. Start of spring or autumn.
Bulb: 3 inches (75 mm). Bottom layer of sand. As an annual: plant in spring, will flower in summer. As a perennial in warm areas: plant in autumn, will flower in spring.
Sow Inside: Germination time: one to three months. Temperature 50°F (10°C). Two months in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost in cool areas, or at the beginning of autumn in warm areas.
Requirements: Full sunlight. Soil pH 7 to 8.5. Can survive in dry soils. Provide support as the stems are thin. In the spring supply a top dressing of cow manure. Regular feed. Regular watering. If growing as a perennial bring bulbs indoors in cool areas in the autumn.

Propagate: use offsets.

Harlequin Flowers and other Sparaxis plants can be grown from outdoors from bulbs or seeds. The Sparaxis bulbs should be planted with a little sand about 7 or 8 cm deep in the spring (summer blooms) or autumn (spring blooms); seeds should be sown in either early autumn or early spring and lightly covered once sown. Ideally Harlequin flowers and related species should be grown in a sunny part of the garden that has a neutral or alkaline dry soil.

When starting off indoors sow Sparaxis seeds about 10 weeks in advance. They should take about one to three months to germinate at 10 to 12 degrees centigrade. Transplant the young Sparaxis seedlings outdoors following the last frost of spring with a spacing of about 10 cm.


Used for Cut flowers. Bee friendly. Container appropriate.