Virtually evergreen South African native that resembles a small gladiolus. Forms a foot-wide clump of upright, swordlike leaves to 16 in. long. Clusters of 4 to 14 star-shaped flowers to 112 in. across are carried on slender, 112- to 2-ft.-tall stems in late summer and fall; may also bloom late winter and spring in Coastal and Tropical South. The species has crimson flowers, but several color variants with larger flowers are available. Look for white 'Alba', watermelon-red 'Oregon Sunset', soft pink 'Jennifer' and Mrs. Hegarty', deep salmon-pink 'Sunrise', and pale pink 'Viscountess Byng'. 'Major' is a strong grower, with large (to 212-in.) shiny red blooms. All make excellent cut flowers. Good in containers and in meadow plantings. Formerly known as Schizostylis coccinea.
Plant in spring, in humusy, well-drained soil that stays moist. Set rhizomes 121 in. deep, 1 ft. apart. Water generously from planting until autumn flowering ends, then sparingly until growth resumes in spring. If clumps become crowded, divide them in early spring; each division should have at least five shoots.