Tigridia van-houttei

Mexican Shell Flower


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We like so totally rock. Did you ever expect a little nursery in Port Townsend to offer this choice Tigridia species from the State of Hidalgo in Mexico? The flowers are easily described as ashy gray, purplish black and burnished buff combined in a mind-twisting combo of fly-wing venation and reptilian reticulations. The flowers don't compare in size to the bigger more familiar Tigridia pavonia being at best a half dollar or less but the detailing and length of bloom makes it one of our all-time favorites. Each flower lasts but a day or two but this has numerous buds in a cluster and they open sequentially plus the flower scape is branched with the branches not as far developed as the main stem so they kick in flowering when the initial flowers are finished. It all makes for a long-lasting display. These have proven perfectly hardy here but just the same, mulch if winter turns cold.


Plant Type

  • Perennial / Bulb

Mature Size


Hardiness Zones

  • Zone 7a (0 °F)
  • Zone 7b (5 °F)
  • Zone 8a (10 °F)
  • Zone 8b (15 °F)
  • Zone 9a (20 °F)
  • Zone 9b (25 °F)

Sun Exposure

  • Full Sun

Water Needs

  • Moderate
  • Moist

Bloom Time

  • Summer