|Height:||45-80 cm (1.5-2.6 ft)|
|Flower Colors:||white, red, yellow, pink, orange, patterned|
|Life form:||deciduous bulb|
|Climate:||USDA Zone 8-9|
Tigridia pavonia is native to Mexico where it grows in semitropical to semialpine climates. The true origin is somewhat obscure since they have been cultivated by the Aztecs for their edible bulbs and easily escape from cultivation in suitable climates. Plants can be grown easily from seeds. Sow the seeds in well-drained medium and keep the pot moist in a warm area. If the temperature is too cold the seeds won't sprout well. If started inside, strong seedlings may flower first year from seed under ideal conditions, though most will need a second season. The seedlings may profit from division as ones that are kept crowded together do not grow as fast. These plants will need a dry winter dormancy and are tolerant to lifting and dry storage even as young plants. Actively growing plants benefit from fertilizers and regular watering.
These four photos demonstrate some of the color variations found in flowers of Tigridia pavonia grown from one collection of seeds harvested from wild plants. These plants flowered only two years after sowing the seeds. Photos by Dennis Szeszko.
Photo 1 below is a red form taken by Lee Poulsen Sept. 2003, from a collection made by Yucca Do (#T73-33) at a much lower, and hotter, elevation than what they claim the typical form the Dutch have propagated was collected from. It may be true since none of the Dutch ones survive at their nursery located in Central Texas; this one does, and multiplies well. It is very large, ~6 inches (15 cm) across. Photos 2-3 were taken by Nhu Nguyen of plants from a nice clump in the ground at the UC Botanical Garden. They get winter rain but persist regardless. Photographs 4 and 5 by David Pilling show seed and a seedling about 28 days after the seed was exposed to moisture at 65°F; both on a 10 mm grid.
Named variants: Tigridia pavonia 'Sunset in Oz' was a selection made by Ellen Hornig from a chance seedling that appeared at Seneca Hill Perennials in Oswego, NY. It is sometimes referred to locally as "Oz", famous for its beautiful sunsets over Lake Ontario. Photo 1 is 'Sunset in Oz'. Photo 2 is a seedling from 'Sunset in Oz' which according to Ellen that "for shear screaming flower-power it's hard to beat.". Picture 3 by Martin Bohnet shows the cultivar 'Alba Immaculata', a somewhat misleading name since the former Rigidella immaculata was moved to Tigridia immaculata, which of course is a totally different species. 'Alba immaculata' is stable from seeds if selfed.
Mary Sue Ittner received seeds from a seed exchange from 'Sunset in Oz' and even though she has found it challenging to grow this species in her relatively cool summers decided to see what the seedlings might look like. Seed was started February 22 and seedlings started emerging on April 15. The first flowers appeared in September. There were 5 different flowers each lasting one day. In October there were two more blooms, possibly repeats from some of the other bulbs. The next year there was only one flower one day, but this one was totally different and it happened to flower on her husband's birthday. The last photo shows a couple of bulbs in the third year.
Photos 1-2 taken by Rob Hamilton show a yellow form (selfing) and a tangerine (selfing) from a batch of seedlings. Photo 3 shows a pink/red form photographed by Jim McKenney in his garden on August 10, 2005. The flower began to open between 6:30AM and 7AM and began to close at around 4PM. Photo 4 was taken by Paul Tyerman and photo 5 by Bob Rutemoeller. Photo 6 was taken by Dennis Kramb in Cincinnati, Ohio of a plant from Brent & Becky's Bulb Company.
The photos below is of a nice form grown from seeds by Nhu Nguyen. Because of the cool summers in the Bay Area, it took 3 years for this one to bloom from seeds.
The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen of an outstanding example of how to combine summer dormant and summer growing bulbs together. It features Amaryllis belladonna, which is summer-dormant but benefits from watering and Tigridia pavonia which requires summer water. This landscape is found in the Hills of Berkeley, CA by an unknown (and obviously knowledgeable) landscaper!