Rhodoxis 'Fairytale'
Top Photo: Concept Plants; 'Crimson' photo by Mark Leichty
Rhodohypoxisis a genus of tuberous, grass-like, flowering plants native to the southern African nations of Lesotho and South Africa. It naturally occurs at elevations of 4,000 to 10,000 feet where it can be found growing abundantly on grassy slopes.

Rhodohypoxis baurii and several cultivars of that species can be found at specialty nurseries around the United States, but it’s so adorable that it could attain a much wider distribution. It’s a great plant that should be available in many independent garden centers, but it remains a little hard to find. However, I hope I never see this beautiful flower in big-box stores. Specialty nurseries and IGC’s play the important role in the gardening community of being the guardians and purveyors of our horticultural treasures, and I hope and feel confident that will continue to be true.

Rhodohypoxis can genetically cross with another genus in the same family, Hypoxis, creating a new hybrid plant called x Rhodoxis. Several beautiful cultivars of x Rhodoxis are available in the trade as liners. One of the most stunning of these is x Rhodoxis ‘Fairytale,’ bred by Philip van Hilst in the Netherlands and marketed by Concept Plants.

“Fairytale has surprised me by the amount of vibrant colored star-like flowers it produces year after year in containers and in the ground. In a four-year-old plant, there are literally hundreds of flowers. It even reblooms in autumn,” says Peter van Rijssen of Concept Plants.

Another noteworthy form is x Rhodoxis ‘Hebron Farm Cerise,’ which originated at West Acre Farm in the UK.

Cultivation of Rhodohypoxis or x Rhodoxis is relatively easy, as long as two important requirements are met. They must be kept dry in the winter, and they must have regular watering through their growing season. The plant goes dormant in the fall when the leaves will turn yellow, and you should discontinue watering about two weeks after this. After you cut off the water, you can even stack flats on top of each other to save space, and don’t water again until the next March when they wake up and begin pushing through the soil. Rhodohypoxis will tolerate freezing temperatures as long as they remain dry. R. baurii will survive temperatures in the low teens, though wet/cold conditions will most certainly do them in. Grow them in well-drained, slightly acidic soil, and provide light shade in the summer, especially for darker colored cultivars. Growers and gardeners who live in colder climates should still consider Rhodohypoxis as a fabulous container plant. 

Why grow Rhodohypoxis or x Rhodoxis?

  • It has a very high “cute” factor that makes it a great seller in garden centers.
  • Works very well in containers and in fairy gardens.
  • It’s reblooming.
  • It has a high disease tolerance.
  • Low maintenance

Mark Leichty is the Director of Business Development at Little Prince of Oregon Nursery near Portland. He is a certified plant geek who enjoys visiting beautiful gardens and garden centers searching for rare and unique plants to satisfy his plant lust. mark@littleprinceoforegon.com