• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Sparaxis tricolor

harlequin flower

Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9

Join now
  • Other common names harlequin flower

  • Family Iridaceae

  • Genus Sparaxis are cormous perennials forming a fan-shaped tuft of linear or narrowly lance-shaped leaves, with funnel-shaped flowers borne in loose spikes

  • Details S. tricolor is a cormous perennial with narrow, upright leaves to 30cm long. In spring and early summer it produces stems, to about 45cm, bearing small clusters of red, orange or purple, widely-funnel-shaped flowers with yellow centres surrounded by black or dark red marks

  • Plant range South Africa (Cape)


  • Foliage Deciduous

  • Habit Columnar/Upright

  • Hardiness

    Hardiness ratings

    All ratings refer to the UK growing conditions unless otherwise stated. Minimum temperature ranges (in degrees C) are shown in brackets

    • H1a - Under glass all year (>15C)
    • H1b - Can be grown outside in the summer (10 - 15)
    • H1c - Can be grown outside in the summer (5 - 10)
    • H2 - Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5)
    • H3 - Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1)
    • H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
    • H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
    • H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15)
    • H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20)




  • Full Sun

  • Aspect West-facing or South-facing

  • Exposure Sheltered


  • Loam


  • MoistureWell-drained

  • SoilLoam

  • pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral


  • Ultimate height 0.1-0.5 metres

  • Ultimate spread 0-0.1 metre

  • Time to ultimate height 1-2 years

How to grow

Cultivation Grow under glass in good light but shaded from hot sun. In autumn, plant corms 20cm deep in loam-based potting compost with added sand and leaf mould. Water sparingly when in growth and keep cool; dry off as flowers fade and keep completely dry when dormant

Propagation Propagate by seed sown in containers in a cold frame as soon as ripe or remove offsets when dormant

Suggested planting locations and garden types Patio & Container Plants Mediterranean Climate Plants

How to care

Pruning Remove spent flower stems and allow foliage to die down naturally

Pests Generally problem free

Diseases Generally problem free

Did you find the information you were looking for?

RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.

Join the RHS now

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.