Try a new flower to go with seasonal rain. This 2015 update on my attempts to grow Rain Lilies
I discovered a 6 inch pot in my greenhouse with a label saying Habranthus but I don’t know where I got the contents from. There were a couple of short, green, narrow leaves and little else until this week when flowers erupted from the soil on 4 inch stems with petals nearly as long.
I water my greenhouse with a hosepipe spray except when I am adding fertilizer and recently I have been misting over all the pots and plants. You can see how the spray has stuck to the Habranthus flower.
Habranthus is a genus in the Amaryllidaceae family with species from Central and South America extending into southern North America. They have narrow, linear or strap-shaped leaves. Their flowers are very similar to Zephyranthes and both are called rain lilies.
This variety of Habranthus is flowering in late Summer (Sept) and offers a delicate touch to colour with minimum fuss. Habranthus bulbs should be quite hardy in the UK.
What is a Rain Lily
Rosemary Sims from Daves Garden gives the best description ‘Like the Hippeastrums, Habranthus is hardy where ever the ground does not freeze and summers are hot. They are also excellent and forgiving pot plants but should be left outside during summer so the rains can touch them.
This is among my favorite of all rain lilies because of its size and that it continuously blooms in waves from April through about September (on the gulf coastal plain). The large Hippeastrum-like flowers all face in the same direction and give a charming effect. They are about 4″ long and across and on stems from 12″ to 24″, depending on how much rain has spurred them to bloom and whether they are in shade or sun (shorter in sun). The leaves are about 1/3″ wide and are flat and floppy but not unattractive in the garden.’
There are over 20 species of Habranthus to choose from and other plants also called Rain Lilies such as the Zepyranthes and Cooperia.
With all the rain we have been getting in England it may be worth tracking down some bulbs and giving them a try. The flowers are very pretty but I must wait to see how many actually flower and how they survive. ( The drizzle is coming down in stair rods again to make my garden boggy).
Growing and Propagating Tips
- Sow seed in spring and grow on the bulblet.
- Offsets from bulbs may be grown on and used to propagate more stock.
- Grow on in rich, moist but free draining soil.
- Shelter from strong wind and avoid full sun
- The AGS seed distribution 2011 has provided me with an opportunity to grow this species from scratch.
- I have acquires seed packets of Aquarius, atamasca, candida, citrina, fosteri, primulina and reginae.
- I will report back on how I am fairing in due course. (October 2011 not too well as yet.)
Update May 2011
Germination of my Zephyranthes was reasonable with one or two of each variety now looking like thin grass witha miniature bulb attached.
They seem delicate for a by the wallop gardener like me.
Update October 2012
I have lost the plant – 2012 was a no show – It serves me right.
These rain lilies are well scented and grow in dry conditions.
Plants are now being crossed with the other rain lily species of Habranthus and Zephyranthes.
Rio Grande copperlily, Habranthus tubispathus…..Huệ Rio-Grande, Huệ màu đồng ….#1 by Vietnam Plants & America plants Habranthus andersonii Herb. ex Lindl.
Habranthus parvulus (Herb.) Pritz.
Habranthus texanus (Herb.) Herb. ex Steud.
Habranthus variabilis (Ravenna) CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Habranthus x floryi Green Base 鱗莖 by 澎湖小雲雀 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“四種風雨蘭 Zephyranthes sp. Labuffarosa 品系花朵 by 澎湖小雲雀, Zephyranthes sp. Labuffarosa
Zephyranthes sp. Labuffarosa (Fragrance)
Zephyranthes sp. Labuffarosa ‘Itsy Bitsy’
Zephyranthes sp. Labuffarosa ‘Pink’ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
風雨蘭 Cooperia traubii 花朵 by 澎湖小雲雀 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Rio Grande copperlily, Habranthus tubispathus…..Huệ Rio-Grande, Huệ màu đồng ….#7 by Vietnam Plants & America plants CC BY-NC-ND 2.0