. . . bulb care and growing information
Gloriosa Lilies are a climbing member of the Lily family, which are natives of South Africa. These tender bulbs are also a vine that climbs by means of tendrils at the tips of their leaves. Some common names include climbing lily, gloriosa lily, flame lily and glory lily. All parts of plant including root stock, are poisonous if ingested.
Their unusual and exotic flowers have been featured on US postage stamps, and are the national flower of at least one African country. They make an outstanding cut flower in arrangements, and the configuration of their stamens and pistil has been compared to a clock and a minute hand.
Blooming in mid-summer, these strange and exotic looking lily-like flowers are 4-5 inches across with wavy-edged petals that are reflexed back as if blown by a strong wind. In bud, the petals face downward, but they open up to a backward arch.
These wavy, swept-back petals are crimson red, with a yellow base and edged in bright yellow making the blossoms look like they're on fire. The green stamens are extremely prominent and spread outward, and the pistil points to the side of the nodding blooms.
They produce weak, trailing stems clothed with glossy, lush green, whorled leaves which are tipped at the ends with tendrils to aid in climbing. The fast growing vines can climb up to 8 feet on a fence or trellis in warm weather, bloom, then die.
Plant indoors in pots 2-4 inches deep in a mixture of two parts rich potting soil, one part builders sand and one part peat moss. Place in indirect light and keep soil evenly moist. Once it begins to grow, move into more sun and increase watering. Keep the temperature below 65. After blooming, withhold water and fertilizer, allowing the plant to go dormant.
After danger of frost has passed, select a spot in the garden where a trellis or fence can support the plants as they climb. Plant the finger-like, L- or V-shaped tubers horizontally 2-4 inches deep and 12 inches apart. Keep well-watered until shoots appear, then keep soil moist but not soggy. Tubers can also be started indoors in late winter then transplant to the garden. One to three tubers can be grown in an 8-inch container.
Water and fertilize while in active growth throughout the blooming period. They prefer night temperatures ranging from 60º to 70º F and day temperatures at 75º F or higher with high humidity. They will tolerate night temperatures down to 50º or 60º F.
Landscape uses: suitable for growing on trellises, pots and containers indoors and out, houseplants or planted in the garden. The vines grow from oddly-shaped, long tubers that sprout and travel underground.
Their cut flower stems last well in summer heat and their buds continue to open long after picking. If the flowers are cut just before the petals bend back, they will last up to 8 days in an arrangement. Split the end of the main stem before putting it into the vase.
They combine well with many other flowers, and their stiff stems and ability to hold their form out of water for a long time make them ideal for use in lae work and out of water floral installations.
After blooming, gradually stop watering them. When the foliage dies down and has completely ripened, dig the tubers, which may be deeper than when planted. Clean the tubers and dust with sulfur to prevent disease. Offsets may be detached or the tubers may be divided at repotting time. Make sure that each cut piece has an eye, or growing point.
Store them in dry peat moss or vermiculite through the winter, or 3-6 months until the pink buds form. They can also be left in their pots of dry soil until spring, when they should be replanted in fresh soil.