By Nikki Phipps
Aztec lily (Sprekelia formosissima), or Jacobean lily, has long, green upright leaves and the brilliant scarlet flowers with gracefully curved petals that resemble amaryllis blooms. Keep reading to find out how to grow an Aztec lily bulb.
About Sprekelia Bulbs
Aztec lilies are not true lilies but are similar to members of the amaryllis family and the most popular species in the genus, Sprekelia. There are at least two other species in this genus, S. glauca and S. howardii – both originating in Mexico and Guatemala on rocky hillsides.
The Aztec lily plant is a reliable flower and has well earned its place in the garden. These bulbs not only make excellent garden plants, they thrive in containers and can even be used as houseplants too.
Full grown plants normally reach heights of around 12-18 inches. Aztec lilies usually bloom in the spring and will re-bloom several times. Almost magically, they will keep appearing and blooming throughout spring and summer, with some even continuing to bloom into early autumn.
Aztec Lily Care
Aztec lily is a spring or fall planted bulb that prefers well-drained soil. Plant the bulbs so that the tops are just above ground level. Also, for best results, plant Aztec lily in full sun or light shade. Container-grown Aztec lilies should be located in full lit areas for greater results.
Treat Aztec lilies like any other bulb; they like plenty of water during the growing season and when blooming, but they like it dry when dormant. As the leaves fade, reduce watering. Too much water will cause the bulbs to rot.
Aztec lily is frost-tender, so the hotter your climate, the more at home is this bulb. That being said, it can be grown in climates that receive light frosts as long as the bulb is protected in winter with a generous layer of mulch. Additionally, in colder climates, Aztec lilies must be lifted in late autumn and stored in a frost-free location over winter.
Aztec lily enjoys being left to establish in a clump, either in the ground or in pots. Once established, the plant will multiply each year. Established colonies are best left undisturbed; however, should their blossoms diminish, you can divide and replant by separating and replanting the little offsets in autumn.
There’s not much to worry about in the way of pests. These plants are quite resistant to most pests and diseases.