Clear Mountain Garden Treasures

Clear Mountain Garden TreasuresCulture and Germination - Jockey Caps

An underground shoot with thickened leaf bases
see also Bulbs, Corms and Tubers.
A flowering shoot with more than one flower.
Inflorescences may be branched or unbranched.
Granulised fertiliser enclosed by a shell that
slowly releases the food over a long period of time.
Granulised fertiliser enclosed by a shell that
slowly releases the food over a long period of time.
Jockey Caps

Family Iridaceae
Name Tigridia pavonia
Common Name Jockey caps

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This unusual Summer growing bulb produces large flowers (15cm across), in red, purple, rose, pink, orange, yellow and white, with markings and spots in the centre. Though the flowers may suggest to some that this looks like an orchid, it is not and orchid, and is in fact more closely related to Iris. The flowers grow from a tall inflorescence that grows above the leaves. Flowers last for only one day, opening in the morning and fading by early evening. As one fades another is produced to take its place, keeping the flowering season going for over a month.

Their long pleated leaves contributes interesting texture, especially as a contrast to fine leaved plants. Looks nice with summer flowering perennials. The bulbs grow and multiply quickly, growing into a large clump in a short time.

Coming from Mexico, this plant was believed to be cultivated by the Aztecs over a thousand years ago.


Depth: ¼ cm
When: Spring
Where: In containers for transplanting later.
Use a mix made up of 1 part sand or pumice and 2 part ordinary seed raising mix
Seed takes approximately 4 weeks to germinate.
A relative quick growing bulb, seedlings take only 2 years to flower.


The bulbs start to grow in the spring, when the weather starts to warm. When growth starts, feed with 6 month slow release fertilizer. The plants then only need to be watered if it hasn't rained for sometime. They will make quick growth towards summer.

The flowers appear around January. The showy flowers only lasts for one day but a succession of flowers will keep the display going for weeks. If pollinated, long seed pods will be formed. After a couple of months, the top of the seed pods will split, slowly releasing the ripe seeds.

The plant then dies down for the winter. The bulbs must be kept dry over the winter months or they will rot. If grown in containers, these can be brought into the garage or placed under the eaves, sheltered from winter rains. After 2-3 years the bulbs will become crowded and will need to be split and replanted.







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