Delicate, weeping and grass-like, Chlorophytum saundersiae, can be used to create a soft, meadowy feel in almost any size garden. Despite its appearance, is not a grass, and produces masses of small, white starry flowers through the summer months. It also grows happily in sun or in partial shade beneath trees.

Chlorophytum saundersiae, is a delicate, weeping and grass-like groundcover that can be used to create a soft, meadow-like feel in most gardens.

Chlorophytum saundersiae, is a delicate, weeping and grass-like groundcover that can be used to create a soft, meadow-like feel in most gardens.

 

Family:                                 ANTHERICACEAE               (Anthericum Family)

Name Derivation:

  • Chlorophytum – ‘chloros’ means green and ‘phyton’ plant, so ‘green plant’; not a very imaginative name.
  • saundersiae – after Katherine Saunders (1824 – 1901), an energetic botanical artist and collector who lived and painted in KZN from 1854.

Common Names:

  • Weeping anthericum (Eng).

Form:                                   Clumps of long, weeping, grass-like leaves.

Size:                                      70 cm by 30 cm.

Flower:

  • Small, white star-shaped flowers, up to 2 cm wide.
  • Borne on single or branched, long (60 cm), weeping inflorescences.

Colour:                                White.

Fragrant:                            Not fragrant.

Flowering Months:         Sep – Apr.

The white flowers of Chlorophytum saundersiae are quite small, but they are beautifully structured.

The white flowers of Chlorophytum saundersiae are quite small, but they are beautifully structured.

 Foliage:

  • Evergreen, may frost back in cold weather.
  • The simple leaves long (50 cm) and narrow (1 cm), tapering to a pointed tip.
  • The clumps of long, weeping leaves are very grass-like.

Thorns:                           No thorns.

Fruit:                               The fruit is a small, ovoid capsule (1 cm).

In the Garden:

  • Chlorophytum saundersiae is a popular and useful groundcover for shady or sunny areas.
  • Planted in mass to create a soft, meadow feel.
  • Well suited as a border plant or to add atmosphere to a water feature or pond.
  • Good fill for containers and planters, where their weeping habit is very effective.
  • A very good companion plant for Crocosmia, as they remain green after the Crocosmia leaves die back in winter.

Planting spacing:    5 per square metre, plant plugs 20 cm apart.

Soil Needs:                 Most soil types given plenty compost.

Chlorophytum saundersiae can be used to good effect as an edging to a pathway or paving.

Chlorophytum saundersiae can be used to good effect as an edging to a pathway or paving.

 Care:

  • A low maintenance garden plant.
  • May need to be cut right back after winter if looking untidy.
  • Be aware that this plant seeds its self freely.

Cold Hardiness:                Hardy.

Water Requirements:    Likes regular water in the summer months,but can withstand some drought.

Light Requirements:     Partial shade to full sun.

Chlorophytum saundersiae plants grow in clumps, adding to the illusion that they are grasses.

Chlorophytum saundersiae plants grow in clumps, adding to the illusion that they are grasses.

Roots:                                   Not invasive.

Birds:                                   Insectivorous birds will forage among the plants.

Butterflies:                       Not a larval host to any butterflies.

Bees:                                   Bees and carpenter bees seem to be the primary pollinators.

A profile portrait of a Chlorophytum saundersiae flower.

A profile portrait of a Chlorophytum saundersiae flower.

Medicinal:                          No references for Chlorophytum saundersiae used medicinally.

Poisonous:                         Not Poisonous.

Notes of interest:

  • This plant was previously called Anthericum saundersiae.

Natural Distribution:

  • Found in the north eastern EC and KZN.
  • Endemic to southern Africa (?).

Natural Habitat:            Coastal forests and grasslands.

© Malcolm Dee Hepplewhite & Witkoppen Wildflower Nursery, (Text and Photographs) 2017.