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.
Family: ANTHERICACEAE (Anthericum Family)
- 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.
- Weeping anthericum (Eng).
Form: Clumps of long, weeping, grass-like leaves.
Size: 70 cm by 30 cm.
- Small, white star-shaped flowers, up to 2 cm wide.
- Borne on single or branched, long (60 cm), weeping inflorescences.
Fragrant: Not fragrant.
Flowering Months: Sep – Apr.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Medicinal: No references for Chlorophytum saundersiae used medicinally.
Poisonous: Not Poisonous.
Notes of interest:
- This plant was previously called Anthericum saundersiae.
- 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.