Schizostylis – a mouthful among other things…

Schizostylis-coccinea-Fenland-Daybreak
Schizostylis coccinea ‘Fenland Daybreak’

As well as being a bit of a mouthful, Schizostylis is a South African plant that has gone through somewhat of an identity crisis in recent years, Schizostylis has now been genetically reclassified, and belongs to the Iridaceae family, in the Genus Hesperantha.

They naturally appear in wetter areas, such as along streams and on the edge of cliffs – perfect for the British climate, Schizostylis have done very well throughout these previous wet seasons we have been experiencing.

Schizostylis is Latin for ‘divided style’, and Hesperantha means ‘evening flower’. Put these together, and this is exactly what you get. Schizostylis open up towards the sun as the day goes on, before going back to sleep at night. They do best when in a sunny position, these beautiful varieties flower in late summer/autumn, and will keep opening up their flowers until the first harsh frost.

They are hardy but do better in milder climates, they will survive winter especially when protected from the very hardest frosts. We have seen vases of Schizostylis flowers on the Christmas table before so they really do flower for a long time into the winter in mild areas. For those in especially cold areas, they can be treated a lot like Agapanthus, potting in large pots, to be planted out into border for the summer once the harshest frosts are past.

Schizostylis-coccinea-Major
Schizostylis coccinea ‘Major’

The most well-known variety, coccinea ‘Major’, is a very strong performer, with strappy grass-like stems which produce long flower stems with large and dramatic scarlet red flowers in late summer.

For something more subtle, we would suggest coccinea ‘Pink Princess’ (VR), a delicate array of white flowers with a pinkish tint, this variety looks stunning even when in bud as the pink shows through strongly.

Schizostylis-coccinea-Pink-Princess-(VR)
Schizostylis coccinea ‘Pink Princess’ (VR)

For a more striking pink, coccinea ‘Fenland Daybreak’ is the ultimate choice. Star shaped coral flowers that will keep going as the rest of the border fades.

Schizostylis-coccinea-Fenland-Daybreak
Schizostylis coccinea ‘Fenland Daybreak

They are the perfect choice for adding late colour into the border, and work well on their own as they are really showy.

All three varieties are available now in trays of 50 plugs from the surplus list.