Found on mountain slopes, and flats of sand or clay in the south west Cape, this brightly-coloured gem opens its flowers, above a single linear leaf, in the afternoon from July until September. Although the orange flowers (rarely yellow) resemble tulips, they are in fact members of the iris family. These quite exceptional plants, which will self-seed and naturalise happily in warmer and drier climates, only came into cultivation in the 1990's.
Sow seeds at any time covering them with compost or grit 5mm deep, in a cool, well-lit spot outdoors. Artificial heat is not needed and can prevent germination. Many species will only germinate in the spring after a good chilling or freezing in the moist seed tray in the winter. Grow on seedlings in small pots before planting out into sharply draining compost in a pot, or the open ground in a well-drained spot.
Common name:Cape Tulip
Classification:Half hardy bulb, Hardy bulb, Half hardy perennial