|Try these for a subtle change of pace from familiar Gladiolas. They too have swordlike leaves and sheaves of showy blossoms, but grow from corms rather than bulbs, and the smaller, more tubular flowers bloom on taller, branching stems. Magnificent for cut flowers, they come in white, reds, pinks and purples. In their native South Africa, it is believed the sunbirds pollinate the species with deep-tubed red flowers, while bees pollinate those with flared pink flowers. The 50 species divide into two basic types: deciduous, blooming spring to early summer, and evergreens, blooming late summer to early autumn. Both need well-drained but constantly moist soil and plenty of sunshine, with protection from midday heat. Enrich soil with organics like leaf mold, and a slow-release fertilizer in summer. Plant corms 3 to 4 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches apart in the fall where climate is mild, and elsewhere in the spring. Tall stems may need staking. Both types rest after blooming. Water to keep foliage alive as long as possible, but reduce water to evergreens. Stop watering deciduous types after leaves die. Where winter temperatures stay above freezing, leave corms in the ground, protecting with mulch. Where colder, lift and store corms in a cool place -- store deciduous types dry and store evergreens packed in damp peat moss or sand. Divide overcrowded clumps of corms every 2 or 3 years, after blooming. Replant as quickly as possible; do not let corms dry out.
Many flowers form loose spikes on 5-foot stems. Dark purple anthers accent the purplish-lilac, funnel-shaped blossoms.
Attributes - Watsonia wordsworthiana
Plant Type: Bulb
Bloom Season: Late Spring through Mid Summer
Flower Color: Lavender, Pink, Purple
Height: 3 ft. to 5 ft. 6 in.
Width: 5 ft. 6 in.
Sunlight: Full Sun
Climate: Zones 9, 10, 11
Notes: Thrives in Dry Climates. Container Plants, Cut Flowers, Drought Tolerant, Low Maintenance, Showy Flowers.