ACIDANTHERA Iridaceae A. species

HABITAT: Native to Ethiopia. Zone 7-10.

USES:  Cuts, group plantings, borders, fragrance.

HABIT:  Perennial, bulbous plants growing 1/2-4' from corms which send up tall bearing delightfully spicy scented, creamy-white flowers, blooming August-October.
  Flower spikes are clothed with long, slender, gladiola-like foliage.  Some flowers have centers of red, purple or chocolate brown.

SEED GERMINATION AND CULTURE:  Sow in late winter 8-10 weeks before planting outdoors.  Cover seed lightly and place in a cool location about 55°F.  Sow in containers filled with Park's Grow Mix or outdoors in a protected bed.  In zones 7-10 (Florida, California and Gulf states) Acidantheras can be left in the ground over the winter, or dug up and stored as they must be north of zone 7.  After all danger of frost has passed, plant corms in spring in full sun and good garden soil rich in humus (leaf mold, compost, peat moss, etc.) and one which drains well.  Set corms 3-4" deep and 6-9" apart.  Keep weeded and well watered.  Apply a balanced garden fertilizer such as 8-8-8 when plants emerge and repeat fertilization application 4 weeks later. For growing in pots, place 6 or more corms in an 8" squatty pot 4 weeks before night temperatures remain at 50°F.  Pot in a commercially prepared soil mix or 1 part loam, 1 part sand, 1 part leaf mold or peat moss.  Lift and store in the fall as with garden-planted corms.  To store corms, lift after leaves turn brown in the fall, shake the soil off saving cormels that formed around the larger corm.  Let the corms dry a few days in an airy place away from the sun.
Cut the tops back 2" from the corm.  Remove dried remains of previous year's corm and store at 55-60°F in dry peat moss, perlite or vermiculite.  Remove faded flowers to encourage spikes to branch and to extend the flowering season.  Lift and divide every 3-4 years in zones 7-10.  Plants from new cormels will flower 2nd or 3rd year.

SPECIES:  A. bi-color:  Zone 7.  18".  White with purple blotch.  July.  Absennia.
A. candida:  1-1-1/2'.  Zone 10.  White.  August.  E. Africa.
A. sequinictialis:  1-1/2'.  Zone 10.  White with crimson blotch.  Sierra Leone.
A. murieliae:  Zone 7.  1-1/2'.  White with crimson blotch.  July.  Absynnia.
A. bi-color var. murieliae-gladiolus murielae.
A. hybrida tubergenii:  1-1/2'.  June.  White with reddish blotch.

INSECTS:  Aphids:  For best results use an approved insecticide, such as Malathion or Rotenone, for control.
Thrips:  For best results use an approved insecticide, such as Sevin or Malathion, for control.
Nematodes:  For best results use an approved insecticide, such as Nemagon, for control.
Wire Worms:  For best results use an approved insecticide, such as Malathion, for control.
Bulb Mite:  For best results use an approved insecticide, such as Diazinon, for control.

DISEASES:  Botrytis Blight:  Improve spacing for air circulation.  Improve soil drainage.  Apply every 7-10 days an approved fungicide, such as Zineb or Captan, for control.
Bulb Rot:  Destroy infected plants and parts.  Improve drainage and improve air circulation by spacing; dust with Captan or Phalton prior to planting.

PROPAGATION:  Offsets (cormels).