Pink Crimson Flag, November Bloomer?

So many variables determine when, where and why a particular plant blooms. For growers and retailers in the nursery trade, profuse blooms, not surprisingly, drive impulse sales.

crimson flag1In the garden I’m always pleased when something blooms unexpectedly.  Yesterday I noticed a small clump of pink Crimson Flag (Hesperantha coccinea) blooming in the rain garden, probably a named cultivar.

My surprise was tempered by the fact that our recent weather has been relatively mild and accompanied by gobs and gobs of rain. In the last 48 hours my location on the north end of Vashon Island had slightly more than 2 3/4 inches of rain. (As of yesterday, the Seattle area rain total for November was about 3.52 inches).

The species is native to southern Africa and it’s not surprising that recent weather conditions encouraged bloom.

Buds of Pink Crimson Flag enjoying the rain

Buds of Pink Crimson Flag enjoying the rain

A website sponsored by the SANBI (South African Biodiversity Institute) says this about the plant:

It is a marvelous, water- loving, perennial bulbous plant. It occurs naturally in saturated soils on stream banks growing in full sun. Although the flowers are normally bright red, there are also pink and white forms…
The flowers are borne in profusion in summer during the warm and wet months between December and April.

I’ve written about the red flowering cultivar “Oregon Sunset” previously, including its confusing genus names and a downright unfortunate common name. You can read those posts here:

Crimson River Lilly ‘Oregon Sunset’
Crimson River Lilly Redux

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