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My Vertical Garden Wall


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rain Lily - Zephyranthes

Its known as rain lilies because of their habit of blooming several times a season, usually following a rain. I'm not sure about that but I often noticed is that when a grass cutter comes around and accidentally cut the whole crown together with other weeds thinking that this is one of them.

And the gardener gets a reward with a showy springs of new sprouts of flower scape - usually within 2 - 3 days time. And this happens every time. (I had trimmed the leaves after planting and they gave 4 flowers immediately)

The leaves look very much like grass, that is if you are not accustom to rainlilies - you would wonder why do a gardener breed weeds. I had several pots of these and none of them bloomed for months. (planted first - July 09) One thing for sure, they really had multiplied from the first batch.

You can see it here how I first started: Rainlily

I have decided to put them in a long rectangular pot instead of the circular ones - they seemed to look prettier this way. I also manage to do the same for my Amaryllis bulbs - something which I had never seen them bloom, so I'm really not sure how they look like.

I have been reading a lot these few days about blooming Amaryllis but as for now, I had replanted them back and so I do not want to damage them in uprooting them again. Probably I will keep watch over these for another couple of months and see, If they do not bloom, chances are I might just uproot them and throw them away (Just kidding)
A more drastic move may be removing them and place them in dormancy & later "force bloom" them. See if these changes their mind and give their precious blooms soon.

These were passed to me by my mum last year as she had gave up on them.

Some tips to consider:

1) Rainlilies need a good amount of sunlight, they may not bloom in shaded area.

2) Its been said also that over watering can cause bulb rot - so do watch out for that.

3) They will also seed freely, do collect them if you are planning to plant them using seeds.

4) Do not uproot them by putting them out from the soil, rather you may need to turn the pot upside down and slowly break the soil-bound roots and loose the bulb and slowly remove them to save the pups. It would be very difficult to remove the bulbs once planted directly on the ground - unless you intend to keep them there permanently, consider planting them on pots then place them on the soil for easier digging & etc.

I have tried to pull a bulb planted in an abandoned area but I was unsuccessful as the bulb had gone very strong with roots and all and I manage only to get some of the succulent leaves in my few failed attempts. Probably a spade might help but there may be some damage occurring on the bulb & the roots.

The bulbs had given a lot of "pups" by the sides -these what they have been doing sitting in the pot, instead of flowering, they have been making babies.
The rain was heavy for these few days and had washed the top soil that had covered the 1/3 of the bulb. May have to top some soil later.


Floridagirl said...

James, I do love the rainlilies. I can't seem to notice a correlation with rain either, though, except that here, they tend to bloom only during the rainy season, which is summer and fall for us. I'll have to try the "haircut" method you speak of!

Stephanie said...

I like your rain lily! Thanks for sharing about the roots. Just like flax lily is somewhat soil bound too. Btw, the rectangular pot looks nice and save space. Also, looks neater when arranged nicely like what you have done :-D

As for the amaryllis, if they do not give you blooms later, maybe let it grow at least six leaves first before use the 'forcing' process.

Ami said...

Those are pretty showy flowers! I keep hearing people talking about the rain lilies, but for some reason I just can not find it for sale anywhere here. Wonder if I just did not go to the right place at the right time... Maybe I can try to find seeds indeed, in that case, I can get more varieties.

Noelle Johnson said...

Hello James,

Guess what? We can grow these too, but we usually only find the white variety. I would love a pink one someday...

Steve Asbell said...

I love rainlilies and hope to someday have a small lawn of mondo grass and rainlilies that doesn't need mowing. Nice post!

Barry Parker said...

Hi James,
The rain-lillies are lovely I've just germinated some Hebrathus ( a rain-lilly relative), but who knows when I'll get them to bloom. For those N.Americans interested in finding rainlillies (Zephranthus) or Hebranthus, they can get them by mail from

Edith Hope said...

Dear James, What absolutely charming and pretty plants. Your posting is most informative and I am tempted to go away and see if I can get them going in my Alpine House.

Terra Mirabilis said...

I love these lilies and here, at least, the bulbs multiply like crazy. There are some jumbo ones available now, too.

Andrea said...

Hi James, i thought we had these at home which dont die even if we just left them there. I did not know they are bulbs, as i thought they are just very small plants which produce flowers once-in-a-while. I've experienced also the pulling technique which failed. Now, i will check if what we had are same as this you showed.

Autumn Belle said...

Your rain lilies has multiplied itself and now they are so many many bulbs. How wonderful. I can imagine how nice they'll all look when all bloom at the same time. I notice mine usually bloom after a thunder storm. I am growing mine in pots too but mine are very thin.

James David said...

Floridagirl - do have the "haircut" you won't regret it.

Stephanie - I manage to collect some bulbs around the abandon areas - probably will experiment on them first before doing this on the precious ones.

Ami & Noelle - good luck on the seeds & the pink variety.

Rainforest Gardener - nice idea - but if you don't cut the rainlilies, chances are they might not bloom

Barry - thanks for the information, I guess Ami & Noelle can check that out.

Edith - yes, they are charming, do get them and you would certainly enjoy those little bell flowers.

Penny - Never seen those jumbo sized ones.

Andrea - By the description you mentioned, it does sound like rainlilies.

Belle - would like to see those pictures & flowers too.

Thanks everyone for your lovely thoughts & comments.

sweetmemories said...
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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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