Babiana Bulb Growing: How To Care For Baboon Flowers

Babiana Bulb Growing: How To Care For Baboon Flowers

By: Laura Miller

Are you looking to an add a vibrant splash of color to yourflowerbed? Do you enjoy plants that double as conversation pieces or are easyto care for? Baboon flowers just might be the answer.

Successful Babiana Bulb Growing

The various types of Babianaspecies originated in Southern Africa. Babiana plants are commonly called thebaboon flower after the same-named old-world monkeys who would use the Babianacorms as a food source. The flowers range in color from brilliant hues of blueand lavender to deep pink. They make excellent cut flowers and, as long as nobaboons escape from the local zoo, baboon flower care is prettystraightforward.

Most species of Babiana grow well in a variety of soils,including those with a high sand content. However, baboon flowers require gooddrainage. Avoid areas that receive run-off from overhangs or roofs. Soildrainage can be improved by raising flower beds or by adding organic material,such as compost.

Having originated in a tropical climate, Babiana is bothheat and drought resistant. For the best results, select a sunny to mostlysunny location that receives regular rainfall. About an inch (2.5 cm.) a weekduring the growing season is ideal.

Types of Babiana

Babiana blooms on upright stems that typically bear a halfdozen or more 2-inch (5 cm.) flowers. The colors vary depending upon thespecies. One of the most widely cultivated hybrid species is Babiana stricta. These late spring toearly summer flowers are known for their longevity in the garden.

Although Babiana species can range in height from 8 to 45inches (20-114 cm.), most hybrids average 12 inches (30 cm.) tall. That’s theperfect height for naturalizing in rock gardens, growing in pots or for use inflower arrangements.

How to Plant Babiana Bulbs

Plant baboon corms 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) deep. In colderclimates, where the corms will be dug for winter storage, spacing can be 2 to 4inches (5-10 cm.) between each Babiana bulb.

Growing baboon flowers in tropical and subtropical climatesallows the plants to propagate naturally. In these areas, spacing bulbs 6inches (15 cm.) apart gives the plants room to spread for more profuse bloomingin subsequent years.

Care for Baboon Flowers

Like other types of flowering corms, Babiana is not winterhardy where temperatures fall below 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-3.8 C.). In thesehardiness zones, bulbs will need lifted and stored inside for the winter. Cormscan be replanted in the spring after danger of frost has passed.

In southern climates, baboon corms can be planted directlyin the ground during late fall. They will grow during the winter and bloom inearly spring.

Babiana also grows well in large pots (12 inches/30centimeters or bigger) that can be moved inside for winter storage. Baboonbulbs requires very little water during their dormant season.

After Babiana has flowered, the foliage will continue togather the sun’s energy for storage in the corm. It’s best not to remove thesword-shaped leaves until they die down in late summer.

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A spring flowing bulb that are easy to grow, Babiana are easy care and with attractive flowers and good green foliage make a great addition to a sunny position in the garden. These tough little bulbs are also suited to growing in pots or containers.

Babiana stricta and B. angustifolia are the best known species of these generally hardy bulbs that do not need to be lifted every year. They are readily available for sale online from February to March each year. Rare species such as Babiana vanzyliae (pictured right) are occasionally available from specialist growers.

Also known as Baboon Flowers are a late flowering spring bulb with long lasting blooms. With purple, blue and pink flowers resembling those of the Freesia, Babiana are a native of South Africa and prefer full sun and a well drained soil.

When planting remember that these bulbs do like a dry summer, so plant in an area where this can be achieved.

In pots and containers, use a free draining potting mix, the bulbs are best planted at around 15 cm deep. In general, the bulbs should be planted at around 15 cm apart, however, if you are prepared to repot each year, you can plant Babiana bulbs at 5 cm apart for a dense display of flowers.

Plant them en mass in the border for a great display of color.


These easy-to-grow plants from Africa bear spikes of flowers in jewel-like tones of blue, lavender, purple, or red. Each flowering stem bears six or more 2 inches-wide blooms in mid- to late spring. Ribbed, hairy leaves grow in fans. Plant corms 46 inches deep, 6 inches apartas edging, in a rock garden, or in pots. In the Lower, Coastal, and Tropical South, plant out in fall in the Upper and Middle South, plant in spring. In the Upper and Middle South, lift and store corms in fall. Where corms can overwinter in ground, leave them in place they'll multiply and bloom more profusely each year. Plants get their common name from the fact that baboons like to eat the cormsso don't plant them if baboons are a problem in your neighborhood.

B. rubrocyanea

  • Ruby-throated royal blue blossoms on 6 inches stems.

B. stricta

  • Flowers in royal blue, purple, lavender, white, or blue and white appear on stems to 1 feet tall.

Watch the video: Tritonia Exotic Flower Bulbs