How to Grow Ixia
Grow Guide #2605
Binomial name: Ixia hybrida
Life Cycle: Perennial
This 'How to Grow' guide details everything a home gardener needs to know to plant, grow and care for Ixia (Ixia hybrida).
When to Plant Ixia Bulbs
Use the table below to identify the best time of year to plant ixia bulbs in your climate.
Ixia plants are best grown in full sun. Choose a location that will receive at least 6 hours of full sun each day.
Ixia plants need a loose, well drained soil enriched with organic matter. Prepare soil by weeding it thoroughly, digging it over to at least a spade’s depth to loosen the soil, and adding aged animal manure or compost. Organic matter can be dug into heavy soil to lighten it so roots can grow freely. Keep the area free of weeds until planting. Learn more about preparing soil for planting here.
How to Plant Ixia Bulbs
Ixia bulbs should be planted directly in their final position in the garden or a container.
- Plant individual bulbs 5-10cm apart and 5cm deep with the pointed tip facing upwards.
- Cover with soil and water in well.
- Keep moist but not wet until shoots emerge.
How to Grow Ixia
Ixia plants may need watering during the growing season. Water when the soil is dry about 5cm below the surface (test this by scratching away a little soil with your finger). Water deeply in the early morning or late afternoon. Avoid watering the leaves of plants to avoid fungal diseases. Learn more about watering here.
If soil was well prepared no extra fertiliser should be necessary. In poor soil or to give your plants an extra boost, application of a high-potassium fertiliser or one formulated for flowering plants can be beneficial:
- Apply slow release fertiliser at the recommended rate when transplanting or when seedlings are 5-10cm tall.
- Apply liquid fertiliser at the recommended rate and frequency while plants are fruiting or flowering.
Ixia plants should flower in approximately 120-150 days.
If growing ixia for cut flowers, use sharp snips or secateurs to cut the longest stems possible, removing the lower leaves and placing the stems immediately in a clean bucket of water. Learn more about cutting and conditioning homegrown flowers here.
Deadhead or cut ixia flowers regularly during the growing season. Using sharp secateurs or snips, cut flowers for picking with the longest stems possible, or snap off dead flowers. Removing old flowers regularly will direct the plant's energy back into the bulb rather than into the production of seeds.
Leave foliage to die down naturally after flowering; the bulb will absorb the nutrients in the leaves and use them to form the flowers for next season. Once all foliage has died down use sharp secateurs or snips to cut individual leaves at ground level.
Ixia bulbs can remain in the ground for several years without the need to lift and divide them. Mulch heavily to protect bulbs from very hot temperatures over summer. Bulbs can be lifted in areas that experience wet summers, if they become overcrowded or to move them to a different location in the garden.
Common Problems when Growing Ixia
Like all plants, ixia is susceptible to some pests, diseases and other problems. Below is a list of the most common problems gardeners encounter when growing ixia plants:
- Aphids are small (2-4mm long) sap-sucking insects that congregate on the new shoots or the undersides of leaves. They can cause leaves to wilt or become discoloured, and also excrete honeydew which can attract ants and other insect pests. To manage aphids, remove them by spraying with a garden hose, apply a soap or alcohol spray, or encourage predatory insects to your garden. Read more about aphids here.
- Rotten bulbs are caused by pathogens entering bulbs after sitting in cold, wet soil, being temporarily waterlogged or being exposed to warm temperatures in winter. Bulbs may show obvious signs of rot, have no roots or shoots, or produce stunted yellow leaves but no flowers. Plant bulbs in free-draining soil, raised garden beds or containers; do not water bulbs over winter; and lift and store bulbs over winter if recommended for your climate.