Baboon Flower

Babiana nervosa

Babiana, Blue Freesia, Baboon Root, Stompstertbobbejaantjie (Afr.)

profile iconMadeira, Palheiro Gardens - Babiana stricta IMG 2253
by Hedwig Storch (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 2
A close up of some purple Babiana nervosa flowers
profile iconMadeira, Palheiro Gardens - Babiana stricta IMG 2253
by Hedwig Storch (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 2
Babiana nervosa is known as Baboon Flower as it is believed that baboons dig up the bulbs to eat them. The brightly coloured, cup-shaped flowers of this species have a scent that is reminiscent of frangipanis. It is a wonderful addition to any rockery or water-wise garden as it requires little watering. It prefers well-drained, sandy soils.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Winter

Fruiting time

Spring

Harvesting

This species isn't the ideal cut-flower as a single flower only lasts a day, but the flower-stalk can continue flowering once picked, but for only a day or two depending on postharvest treatments. Bulbs must be lifted and stored with shredded newspaper or wood shavings in areas that receive frost.

Propagation

Division

Baby cormlets can be broken off the base of large corms during dormancy. These should be planted in well-drained soil with the tip of the corm just below the soil surface.

Seed

Sow seeds in well-draining sand soil - keep moist until germinated!

Special features

Attracts useful insects

Bees and butterflies are attracted by the nectar that is produced by the flowers.

Drought resistant

This is a water-wise species as it becomes dormant during dry periods and it only actively grows after the first winter rains have fallen.

Pot plant

This is a great bulb species to plant in containers, but must be planted with other evergreen plants or bulbs as the plant dies back during the summer.

Special features

Origin

Sub-Saharan Africa to Namaqualand in the Western Cape of South Africa.

Natural climate

Winter rainfall

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Acid, Neutral

Frost hardiness

Half-Hardy

Personality

Family

Iridaceae

Flower colour

Purple, Blue, Red, Cream, White

Scent

Mild

Problems

Generally not affected by pests, but it tends to be susceptible to Fusaruim fungus if planted in poor-draining soil.
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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