How to cultivate Ixia
To the genus Ixia belong plants, many of which are bulbous grasses, of the Iridaceae family and originating from Africa.
These are perennial flowering plants that can be cultivated both in pots and in the garden.
Due to their characteristics they are easy to cultivate and can be found both by buying the bulbs online and in specialized shops.
The height of these plants can vary from 20 cm to a meter and can be recognized for small depressed bulbs and have distichous, ensiform, often arched leaves, up to 20 cm long and spike-shaped inflorescences carried on thin stems; the individual flowers are star-shaped. The color of the flowers is variable also depending on the species and the varieties: this way you can have white, yellow, red, blue flowers, always with the dark center.
In this card we will see how to cultivate Ixia following the most appropriate agronomic measures.
The most cultivated species are the I. maculata L. with small crushed corms, with spring flowering in orange, white, pink and bronze spikes, the I. flexuosa L., considered by some authors to be a variety of I. polystachyaL. (= I. leucantha Jacq.) With lilac or reddish-purple flowering, with a black spot at the base and the I. viridflora Lam. with elegant stellar corollas, of various colors gathered in spikes that bloom in April-June. In fact, for the species developed from treated bulbs, the flowering season is winter, while spring is the flowering season of plants from untreated bulbs.
Their cultivation, as well as ornamental plants, has a good commercial use as cut flower plants.
For the cultivation technique, however, it is advisable to use the potted one as it is very sensitive to frost and excessive humidity. Instead, cultivation in the garden is possible in mild climate, not subject to frost, even late and with low air humidity.
In pot cultivation it is advisable never to go below 4 ° -5 ° C. In any case, on the outside they can be grown in gardens or flower beds, while in pots they are suitable for terraces and balconies. Always choose places that are not subject to air currents.
For this we must always choose sunny exposures, well-endowed with organic substance, soft and well-drained soils with not too frequent irrigation but that guarantee an optimal maintenance of the humidity of the substrate.
In general the substrate for growing in pots must be composed of a mixture of peat and earth in equal parts with the addition of sand for drainage.
During the hot season, the soil must be kept constantly moist without excesses or water stagnation. With the drop in temperatures, thin out the interventions; in the event that the bulbs are to be extracted, the irrigation operations must be suspended in time.
So if Ixia is grown in the garden it is advisable to have a full sun exposure, if instead it will be cultivated in a pot, a light shade but always with excellent brightness.
As far as fertilization is concerned, organic ones are recommended, such as mature manure or earthworm humus in the garden, to be made just before the plant, or slow release fertilizers following the producer’s instructions for pot cultivation.
The propagation of Ixia occurs through bulbs or seeds, in boxes, in the spring period.
In areas with a very mild climate, the bulbs can be left at home protecting the base of the plant with straw or peat.
Moreover the multiplication can take place, but with difficulty, even by burial of the little prolific corms, in the summer period.
For plants cultivated in pots it is then necessary to provide for repotting, in the spring period, approximately every 3 years.
With reference to pruning, it is sufficient to eliminate the overburdened or damaged parts more than anything else due to an aesthetic appearance.
To prevent the most frequent diseases, these can be represented by fungi and cochineal and aphids. To give the best characteristics of resistance to the plant, it is advisable never to exceed with the irrigations, in order to avoid stagnation and to avoid fertilization with nitric nitrogen so as not to excessively soften the plant tissues.