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How could we overlook crimson flag?

The mystery about crimson flag (Schizostylis coceinea, also called kaffir lily) is why more people don't know about it. From South Africa, this fall- and winter-blooming rhizome starts out with a big October show of flowers, then continues to produce smaller numbers of blossoms through February. You can set out plants any time you find them (nurseries have them in pots), or start them from rhizomes now (see mail-order source below). Not to be confused with the frost-tender orange kaffir lily (Clivia miniata) seen in Southern California gardens, this belongs to the iris family. It's also called river lily, because it grows wild on riverbanks. In the garden, it looks good near water and grows best in rich, well-irrigated soil. Give it full sun unless you live where weather gets very hot; in this case, plant in a place that receives filtered sun (such as under a tree). Rhizome clumps will expand over the years and can be divided to increase your supply. Where water is limited, grow this lily in pots or small plots. Plants aren't hardy enough to grow east of the Cascades or in the coldest gardens (zone 4 in Sunset Western Garden Book) on the west side of the mountains. Available in shades of red, pink, orange, and white, crimson flag makes long-lasting cut flowers. Flowers close at night. You can buy crimson flag rhizomes by mail from Gossler Farms Nursery, 1200 Weaver Rd., Springfield, Ore. 97478 (catalog I; $6.50 per clump). It ships late January through March.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Words:253
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