Friday, August 19, 2011
This genus in the amaryllis (Amaryllidaceae) family is made up of just 4 species of perennials from southern Africa. While these plants are best suited to warmer conditions, and can tolerate only the lightest of frosts, they can be enjoyed as container plants in cooler climates. The stunning flowers come in vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange, and are followed by equally vibrant and showy berries, which extend the ornamental season of these plants. The genus was named for Lady Charlotte Clive, Duchess of Northumberland, who was the granddaughter of Robert Clive of India (general and colonial administrator).
Flowering Season: Summer, Spring
These clump-forming plants grow from stocky rhizomes, and have long, bright green, strap-like leaves. Most bloom in spring, but flowering times do vary, depending on the speciesClivia gardenii, for instance, blooms from autumn to spring, bringing welcome color to the winter garden. They produce strong flower stems that are topped with heads of large funnel-shaped flowers in vibrant hues of yellow, orange, and red. Attractive bright red berries follow the flowers.
Fire lilies will tolerate only the lightest of frost, but otherwise they are easily grown. These plants make superb greenhouse container specimens, and can be enjoyed as indoor pot plants in cooler climates. Outdoors they will do best if grown in fertile well-drained soil in a position that provides dappled shade. Water well during the warmer months and allow to dry off for winter. They are usually propagated by division.