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Ixia Planting Guide

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Hot and Dry = Perfect
Ixia

Exotic members of the iris family, ixia produce brilliant blossoms with often dramatically contrasting spots and blotches. These South African natives are ideal for the hot, dry climates of the southwest and can be grow in other warm areas if planted under roof overhangs to restrict water while still allowing the full sun conditions these plants prefer. Ixia grow from pudgy corms, much like those of crocuses, sometimes with slightly raised centers like a Hersey's chocolate kiss. The exteriors are usually covered with a light, clean netting. Plant ixia in groups in borders or containers for the greatest visual impact.

Outdoor Beds
  1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still puddles of water 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2-3 inches to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available.
  2. Plant your ixias in full sun and in areas that are sheltered from high winds.
  3. Dig holes and place the bulbs about 4" apart and with their tops 4” below the soil surface. Place bulbs so the slightly pointy end faces upwards.
  4. After planting, water well, gently soaking the soil and settling it around the bulbs. Most bulbs will begin to grow roots in just a week or two but you typically won't see activity above the soil until next spring.
  5. When your ixia are in bloom feel free to cut flower stems for bouquets. This will not harm the plants provided they are given a little fertilizer later in the season to help provide strength for future seasons.
  6. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed during active growth periods; about 1" of moisture per week is a good estimate. 
  7. Later in the season, when the foliage turns yellow and dies back this indicates that the plant is slipping into dormancy. Foliage many be removed at this point. These bulbs like dry conditions when they are dormant.
  8. Water your bulbs just once during the autumn with a water-soluble fertilizer to nourish the bulbs as they develop new roots and top growth. Your bulbs will survive without fertilizer, but providing extra nutrients encourages more ixia flowers, larger blossoms and longer life for these plants.
ts, Barrels, Tubs & Urns
  1. Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; ixia bulbs must never sit in waterlogged soil or they will rot. Keep in mind the mature size of the varieties you have chosen and plan your container sizes accordingly.
  2. Site your containers where they will receive full sun.
  3. Plant your ixias close to each other, with hips about an inch apart, for the most brilliant display. Tuck them down 4” inches into the soil with the pointy part of the bulbs facing upwards. Feel free to plant shorter oxalis with ixia in the same container. They make good partners.
  4. After planting, water well, gently soaking the soil and settling it around the bulbs. Most bulbs will begin to grow roots in just a week or two but you typically won't see activity above the soil until next spring.
  5. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed during active growth periods; about 1" per week.
  6. Later in the season, when the foliage turns yellow and dies back this indicates that the plant is slipping into dormancy. Foliage many be removed at this point. Ixia like dry conditions when they are dormant.
  7. Water your bulbs just once during the autumn with a water-soluble fertilizer to nourish the bulbs as they develop new roots and top growth. Your bulbs will survive without fertilizer, but providing extra nutrients encourages more ixia flowers, larger blossoms and longer life for these plants.




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