February 28, 2011

Rhodohypoxis- the Lemming of the Plant World

What this on your deck or terrace? Follow these directions on how to grow one of the least known and most showy of South African bulbs.

Rodohypoxis baurii corms ( the extras) are planted out in flats for new containers to place around the garden. Most are being potted up in fiberglass ornamental window boxes, so that I can use them to edge the deck, or place on railings while they are in bloom.

You may not me familiar with Rhodohypoxis, but this is perhaps the most asked about plant in my collection, for whenever anyone visits in the spring, they are bowled over by the display factor that these plants have. I find them very easy to grow, for they spread like crazy with one corm dividing into dozens within a year. They are not hardy in Zone 5, so I simply bring the pots into the greenhouse for the winter, where they go dry and dormant, and kept cold. You could easily bring your pots into a cellar, or cool garage for the winter. They are about the easiest South African Bulb to grow, and the easily put on a spectacular show ( which is something I can say about few rare bulbs).
Rhodohypoxis corms are planted in window boxes that I bought at Target. Every year I repot them, and now I gave 6 boxes full. They also grow well in large bonsai pots. These plants will emerge shortly, with foliage that looks fuzzy grass, and indeed, the foliage looks like a neat lawn, growing thick and lush, and no taller than 5 inches. Flowers emerge a few weeks later in such abundance that they practically hide this grassy foliage, staying in bloom for about a month. After that, the boxes will just look like Rye grass, but with a neat, lush look, growing so thick that They will look like those stylish boxes of ornamental grass one sees at boutique hotels ( the more contemporary the container, the better! - A box maybe?)

I spent the early part of this weekend dividing the many flats and containers I have of Rhodohypoxis baurii, an easy-to-grow tiny South African Bulb ( corm)  which blooms in the late spring, but which remains in growth all summer long, going dormant in the autumn where the pots all spend the winter cold and rather dry, under a bench in the cold greenhouse. In a few weeks, they will start blooming and the show will begin once again.

Theya re hard to find, but I did see that McClure and Zimmerman has some this year, and remember, all you need is one, since they will spread!

If you don't believe me, when I say these bulbs are worth tracking down ( they are hard to find!), check out these photos from my garden last year.


  1. I first saw these on Victory Garden many years ago and have always wished I knew more about them, but never got to the point of investigation! Thanks so much for this great post... I'm beginning the search right now!! Larry

  2. Hi again... I ordered a dozen rhodohypoxis... wondering if you have any soil recommendations... would they do well in a bark/peat mix? L

  3. I am definitely going to try this. Thank you!

  4. Hydroponics

    Well, Thanx for sharing such an interesting info.......its really awesome........I hv got lot of info regarding gardening here.........waiting for your next post........keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I have had these plants growing in a hanging planter on my gate for the last ten years or so. ((in Tokyo).
    I don't know where they came from and have always wondered about them, only knowing that they like that place and thrive on neglect. Yesterday I posted a picture on my blog and they were identified by a blogging buddy in New Zealand ! The world of plant lovers knows no boundries.

    1. Hi Julie. Oh, I do love Tokyo - it's my favorite city in the entire world. I have some Rhodohypoxis that I brought back from Japan 10 years ago, and I still have them. I lost most of my European selections to mice a few years ago, but a few little bulblets survived in some potting mix, and now I too have them coming up in a few pots of other plants, so this may be common. I just love them. Try growing them in bonsai pots, they tend to do well in them.


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