Babiana - Iridaceae - How to care for and grow Babiana plants



Babiana is a small plant that can be grown both indoors and outdoors producing showy blooms.






: Angiosperms


: Monocotyledons











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genus Babiana includes small ornamental plants.

Most of the species are native to the southwestern part of the Cape province (Africa). Their range generally ranges from southern Namibia to southern Zimbabwe.

All the different species are deciduous, that is to say that they lose their leaves when flowering begins and throughout the autumn - winter period and most of the species grow only during the spring-summer period.

Generally they do not exceed 30 cm in height but are characterized by beautiful blooms with leaves very similar to those of Freesia, slightly hairy of an intense green color and have the particularity of withering completely after the beginning of flowering.

The flowers are usually gathered in spikes at the apex of which they open numerous.


There are about eighty species of Babiana among which we recall the most widespread:


Babiana stricta is a plant native to the Cape province (Africa). It does not reach large dimensions not exceeding 25-30 cm in height.

There are numerous varieties that produce variously colored flowers from blue to dark red with one exception, B. stricta sulphurea, whose flowers are bright yellow.

It blooms between May and June.


Babiana rubrocyanea produces flowers of a beautiful bright blue color with the central part of the red calyx. It is a plant that remains small, not exceeding 20 cm in height.

It blooms between late spring - early summer.


The Babiana villosa is a species that produces bright red flowers during the summer period (June - July).


The Babiana nana is characterized by very fragrant blue flowers that bloom in midsummer, usually in the month of July. They have a short flower stem, no more than ten centimeters long but very branched and each branch produces a flower, with great decorative effect.


Babiana is a bulbous plant and therefore as such it has its own precise development cycle that is important to know in order to grow the plant at its best and obtain beautiful blooms.

In October, the old bulbs are planted together with new bulbs by burying them at a depth of 7-8 cm and spacing them about 5 cm apart in a good fertile soil mixed with a little sand. To have a beautiful flower pot, arrange five bulbs per pot.

Throughout the autumn and winter, water in order to keep the soil slightly humid and place the pot in good light and in an environment where temperatures are constant around 5-10 ° C.

At the vegetative restart in spring, begin to gradually increase the watering until the first shoots begin to appear. At that point irrigate abundantly and throughout the flowering period. When the flowers begin to wilt (late summer), start reducing watering until you get to autumn when you transplant the bulbs and the cycle begins again.

Babiana plants at the vegetative restart can be brought outdoors provided that they are transferred only when the temperatures have stabilized on mild values ​​and there is no longer the risk of frost.

It is a plant that also grows in full sun but sheltered from the wind and drafts.


To regulate how much to water the Babiana you need to follow its development cycle. In fact, before the plant begins to sprout, it is necessary to water with great moderation after which it is necessary to gradually increase the irrigations. When the new shoots begin to appear, it is necessary to water abundantly and continue in this way for the entire flowering period. When the plant begins to wither, reduce watering again.


In October the old Babiana bulbs are transplanted into a good fertile soil to which it is mixed in a little sand to favor drainage (as they do not tolerate water stagnation in any way) together with new bulbs by burying them at a depth of 7 -8 cm and spaced about 5 cm apart.

For a beautiful flower pot, arrange five bulbs per pot so that it is deep enough as the roots like to go deeper into the soil.


The fertilizations of the Babiana begin when the flower spikes appear by adding a good liquid fertilizer to the watering water every two weeks, slightly halving the doses compared to what is reported in the package.

When the plant fades, stop fertilizing.


The flowering periods of the plants vary according to the species and the variety but on average they begin to bloom from late spring - early summer.


Babiana is a plant that cannot be pruned.


The multiplication of the Babiana can take place at the time of repotting in autumn (October) SEPARATING THE NEW BULBS that will have formed from the old bulbs and transplanting them individually or it can be multiplied by seed.

As for the SEED MULTIPLICATION, the seeds are arranged in a fairly sparse way in a soil for seeds, previously prepared in a box or in a pot.

The tray with the seeds is placed in an environment where the temperature is around 16 ° C and is kept constantly humid (it is preferable to use a sprayer to moisten the soil more evenly) until the seeds germinate. seeds will begin to germinate but the young plants should not be disturbed until the next vegetative season (so they will remain in the tray or pot until the following spring) at which point they can be moved to the final pot using a soil as indicated in the "repotting" paragraph.


The plant withers

This symptom, which can be highlighted especially in winter, is due to excessive watering.
Remedies: better regulate the watering, remembering that during the autumn - winter period it should be kept only slightly moist in the soil.

Presence of small whitish insects on the plant

Small mobile insects on the light colored plant are definitely aphids (commonly known as lice).

Remedies: treat the plant with specific pesticides readily available in specialized gardening centers.

Video: Babiana pulchara flowering

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