Plant of the Month
September 2, 2020 by James Cooper
Once summer starts to give way to autumn the race is on to keep the garden interesting and attractive. It’s still too early to cut down perennials to tidy the borders so we like to rely on autumn interest plants to divert attention from plants which are on the wane. This month we have gone for a beautiful mini Gladiolus type lily, the Schizostylis coccinea, also known as the Kaffir lily.
With spires of vivid pink lily like flowers rising 60cm above strap leaves from August until well into winter, the Schizostylis is at home in a sunny spot which has damp soil. Interestingly the flowers open as the sun rises and then close again at dusk.
Schizostylis is native to the Cape of South Africa where it enjoys warm, wet summers and cool, dry winters. Much of the UK will provide a suitable imitation of these condiitons, although in drier parts of the country it may need regular watering. In warmer regions the leaves remain all year round giving a useful foliage texture to surrounding planting groups.
Whilst Schizostylis requires very little maintenance it will require lifting and dividing periodically to prevent the roots becoming congested. Try them in a pot for some late summer colour although remember to keep the watering going.