I have a mystery that maybe you can help me solve. I have a bunch of bulbs that we have planted. Our neighbor was digging up a flowerbed and found them and gave us a clod of dirt filled with bulbs. Well, they looked like they were dying and then all of a sudden we had our first flower. Any ideas what it might be?
Thanks, Betty, via Email
After the rains, the lilies appear and so we call them rain lilies. They are related to amaryllis and called Zephyranthes by horticulturist and scientist. In fact, the genus name comes from Zephyrus, the Greek god of the west wind.
During the summer, usually after a storm, rain lilies send up thin leaves from small bulbs. The treasure though is the solitary, funnel-shaped flowers, pink to white in color and only open for a few days. Rain lilies form clumps and should be divided occasionally.
Rain lilies are native to North and South America. They are not choosey about soil or location, though they prefer well-drained soil and sunny to partly shady conditions. Plant rain lilies in groups near other plants to fill the empty space when the lilies don’t have any foliage and are not in bloom; they even thrive in turf, if the mower is left off for the few days the lilies are in bloom.
There are Zephyanthes species native to all of the warmer areas of the Western Hemisphere, but many are threatened species. Resist the urge to dig them out of the wild, instead visit a nursery or make a trade with a friend, rain lilies have long been traditional pass-along plants.
carol smith says
I too have these great rain lilies that came up unexpectedly from a pot of dirt I found. I also have another rain lily mystery. Years and years ago i got some small rain lily plants, which bloomed with white flowers, after many bloomings they sometimes bloom with hot pink flowers. I would love to know why and how this happens. I love rain lilies, but wish they would bloom more often than only when it rains. I have tried to “trick” my plants by pouring a lot of rain water on them, but they seem to be too smart for that trick!