Clump of narrow, almost grasslike leaves sends up wiry, 18- to 20-in. stems topped by short spikes of 2-in. flowers in late spring. Each six-petaled blossom opens out nearly flat in full sun but remains cup shaped or closed on overcast days. Colors include cream, yellow, red, orange, and pink, typically with dark centers. Most ixias sold are hybrids of the South African species I. maculata. They aren't usually browsed by deer.
Grow ixias in well-drained soil. They prefer slightly alkaline conditions, so add lime to acid soil at planting time. Space corms about 3 in. apart. Where winter temperatures typically remain above 20F, plant in early fall and set corms 2 in. deep; where lows dip to 10F, plant in late fall, set corms 4 in. deep, and cover the planting with mulch. In areas where winter temperatures fall below 10F, delay planting until spring (set corms 2 in. deep); you will get flowers in early summer.
Let soil go dry when foliage yellows after bloom. Where corms won't be subject to rainfall or irrigation during dormant period, they can be left undisturbed until the planting becomes crowded or flowering declines. When this occurs, dig corms in summer and store as for gladiolus until recommended planting time in your area. Where corms will receive summer moisture, dig and store them after foliage dies back; or treat as annuals. Potted corms (planted close together and about 1 in. deep) can be stored in pots of dry soil.