Thursday, August 26, 2010

Zephyranthes is a Unique Plant

Here's what's in bloom at the home garden today:

Rain Lilies, Zephyr Lilies, Amaryllis, Zephyranthes, or Surprise lilies;  what every you may call them, they are beautiful in my garden journal.  I have been growing the same bulbs for more that 20 years and they never give up!  It is a plant that looks good all summer long.

A fresh, tight bud = a flower for tomorrow
As I understand it, this plant belongs to the amaryllis family.  It is related to the same amaryllis that some gardeners bring into bloom at Christmas time.  Now that I think about it, the bulb resembles the amarylis bulb more than a lily bulb.  The bulb is very round and the leaf growth is flat and long like a blade of grass.  The plant is very unique in that just a few days after rain it will send up a number of buds that blossom the following day.  Water from the garden hose just does not produce the same result, it really needs to be natural rain.  Many people refer to this plant as the Rain Lily for this reason.

Beautiful Rewards After a Rain
My mom has a nice pot of the bulbs too.  I was over to her place this week and her pot happened to have four blossoms on it when I took the photo and 3 buds for the next day.  She calls hers the "Surprise Lilies".
I received my bulbs from my grandma after she passed away.  My mom had all of them while I was attending college, but when I moved out on my own she gave me half of what came from my grandma's house.  I remember seeing them where she kept them in a pot next to her hostas.  She also grew oxalis in a pot, but I don't always grow those.  They have increased in number about 3 or 4 times over since I've had them in my pot.  I've gotten a bigger pot twice in 20 or so years.  Next year I could probably go with 2 pots by dividing the bulbs. 

To take care of my bulbs I only grow them outside in my yard during the summer season.  Around October 15th I will bring in the pot and allow the bulbs to dry out right in the dirt.  I then cut down all the dried foliage to about 2 inches and carry the pot to the basement for the entire winter.  On about May 7th I will bring up the pot and set it outside and water it well the first day.  Then I will water it about once a week and within a few days it comes to life with lots of growth.  The leaves look like large blades of grass.  I have noticed that mine usually blossom about 4 days after the first spring rain.  There may be as many as 7 or 8 flowers at first.  I then enjoy the plant every day of the summer.  Sometimes it is in bloom, sometimes not.  I can always count on good looking green grassy foliage.  It reminds me of mondo grass that grows in clumps.  To maintain the good looks all summer, all I need to do is pull out old blossoms and once in a while a dried leaf or two.  It is an extra easy plant to keep.  

A Single Blossom for Today


Terriaw said...

I love your new header photo - gorgeous quilt! These flowers and photos you took are stunning! We used to have a couple amarillis plants we grew in the fall too, but forgot about them one year. Love yours!

orchidlover said...

They are gorgeous. I wonder if they would do well over here. they'd be alright for the rain, but I'm not sure about the winter frosts. I'll look them up I think.

Love and hugs Gina xxx said...

Absolutely gorgeous and very informative. THANK YOU SO MUCH.