Plantswoman FIONA EDMOND, owns the award-winning Green Island Gardens in Ardleigh. Today she talks about varieties of Schizostylis.

Otherwise known as Hesperantha or the Kaffir lily, schizostylis are one of the loveliest autumn flowering perennials.

They have spires of lily-like flowers up to 60cm high above strap like foliage for many months from August often into the winter.

The flowers open daily as the sun rises and close again at dusk.

The best variety in my opinion is S. coccinea ‘Major’ which has strong spires of copper red flowers which blend so beautifully with the stunning autumn foliage colours here at Green Island of Acers, Nyssas and Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’ in the Mediterranean bed.

S.c.’Zeal Salmon’ has large spires of coral pink flowers which also tone nicely with the autumn foliage colours.

The more pink varieties are better placed alongside late flowering salvias such as S.Amistad, and S.involucrata ‘Hardy Form’, or Michaelmas daisies.

The strongest pink flowering variety is S.c.’Sunrise’, and there are also white forms, however I have found them harder to establish.

Schizostylis coccinea is native to the Cape of South Africa where it enjoys warm wet summers and cool dry winters.

Normally fully hardy here in East Anglia, I have noticed some of my clumps are looking a little depleted after two successive cold wet winters and very dry summers.

In milder winters they remain evergreen, just needing any scruffy leaves tidying away in spring, other than that they are pretty much maintenance and pest free. The clumps enlarge themselves by spreading rhizomes which develop corms along their length, bulking up quickly without ever becoming a menace.

They will also grow successfully in pots when placed in sun and given adequate water through the summer.