By Morag Flight
The Tiger Flower is one of my favourites, and I grew them in Karoi with great results. When we left I neglected to take the corms with me and have been searching since. On a recent trip to Nyanga I was delighted to find some at Froggy Farm. The Tigridia is commonly called the Tiger Flower because the centre of the flower resembles a tiger’s coat. It is a rewarding plant to grow, and has large, vivid flowers. They come in pairing combinations of white, pink, red, yellow or orange with contrasting centre spots. The flowers are 7-15 cm wide with three large petals enclosing three small spotted petals, all coming from a speckled centre cup. The blooms are short-lived, the flowers only last a day, but as each plant produces an abundance of stems the flowering period lasts several weeks.
These plants are all members of the Iris family, and have lovely pleated leaves that look like a fan. This foliage dies back in fall. The plants are only semi hardy so cannot tolerate frost. When planting Tigridia in the garden, plant them 4 inches deep and 4-5 inches apart. You may also want to plant them in masses throughout the garden for a colourful summer show when they bloom. Plant tiger flowers where they’ll get hot afternoon sun. You can also grow tiger flower in containers. These showy flowers grow from division of the corms or easily from seeds.
Tiger flower care is simple if you plant them in rich and well-draining soil and provide moisture regularly. Fertilize with a weak mixture of liquid fertilizer a few times prior to blooming, which is in December in Zimbabwe.