Chasmanthe, Plant of the Month March 2021

I dug up some CHASMANTHE from my Mom and Dad’s yard after they passed.  Pronounced (kaz-man’thee).  It is apparently named for the way the petal tips spread widely, from the Greek Chasmamai (yawning or gaping) and anthos (flower).  Genus:    


By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Chasmanthe is a fabulous plant that is related to the iris. Chasmanthe flowers stem from frost tender bulbs and appear in summer. They come in a rainbow of colors and provide vertical interest at the back of low growing perennial beds or as ushers along a path. If you are looking for a plant that complements your water bill, look no further than Chasmanthe. This drought tolerant bulb produces eye-popping flowers in almost every hue.

Chasmanthe is native to South Africa and one of the true heat-seeking plants. In the wild, the plant grows in rockyoutcrops. Some species occur where there is plentiful rainfall, while others grow in more arid regions. Gardeners growing Chasmanthe plants in warm regions, may need to take heed, though, as the plants can become invasive. The long, wide leaves grow 2 to 5 feet (.61-1.5 m.) tall. Stems emerge in late winter, followed by these big leaves. Next come the flower stems and, finally, the tubular three-inch (7.6 cm.) blooms. The flowers come in every color of the sunset and deeper reds as well.

Although it is true that after planting Chasmanthe corms there is very little care during the growing season, in some regions, the plant will need other special attention. In areas that freeze or get a great deal of rain, lift and store the corms after the foliage has died back. Plant them out in spring after all danger of frost has passed. In warm regions, leave the corms but divide them every 7 to 10 years. Cut the foliage back once it is brown and dead. These are easy growing, lovely flowers that will return annually to brighten up your landscape.

Contributed by Sue Delgardo