INFORMATION ABOUT ZEPHYRANTHES…
By: Nikki Phipps
Image by Tropic~7 Zephyranthes is a genus of about 60 bulbous species of lily in the Amaryllis family. Zephyranthes, also called Rain lilies, are native to the southeastern United States, Central America, and South America. Other common names for these flowers include fairy lily, rain flower, and zephyr lily. Zephyranthes derived the name of ‘rain lily’ from its tendency to bloom after a rainfall. Most species are summer or fall-flowering plants.
Zephyranthes has needle-like foliage with beautiful, crocus or funnel-shaped blooms that tend to just pop up overnight after a heavy rain in various shades of white, yellow, orange, pink, or red. The bulbs are usually planted in the fall or spring about an inch deep in well-drained soil. Growing in full sun or partial shade, Zephyranthes is tolerant of a variety of soils, making it suitable in nearly any landscape.
Zephyranthes looks great planted along sunny pathways, among pavers, or naturalized in the lawn. Amazing effects can also be achieved when used in mass plantings. Rain lily will flower throughout the year if kept alternately wet and dry. The narrow, grass-like foliage blends in well with rock gardens, beds and borders, with mature plants reaching heights that range somewhere between 6-12 inches. Alternatively, you can grow Zephyranthes in containers as well. Bulbs can be left in the ground over winter provided they are mulched heavily or can be lifted and replanted in the spring. Propagation is by seed or division, and the bulbs are easy to dig up and divide. Pest problems include maggots and chewing insects. Birds and small animals also love to eat the seedpods.
Atamasco lily (Z. atamasco) is native to the southern U.S. Its onion-like bulb produces pointy green leaves and white, lily-like blossoms that turn pink as it ages. It grows naturally in wet roadside ditches and woods. Atamasco grows in sun or light shade and prefers well-drained, humus-rich, sandy soil. The 12-inch tall plants can be massed in wildflower meadows, along wooded paths, or in beds and borders.
The White rain lily (Z. candida), also called Brazil lily, is a native of Argentina and Uruguay and naturalized in some areas of the U.S. This species is found along rivers and in marshes where it gets year round rainfall and blooms in late summer or early fall. White rain lily has grass-like foliage and large, white, trumpet-shaped flowers. This one reaches approximately 6-8 inches tall. White rain lily prefers a sunny location in well-drained sandy soil. The bulbs should be planted in the spring. This plant is good for naturalizing in meadows, rock gardens, or in between flagstone paths. It is also excellent to use as a potted plant or for cutting.
The Pink rain lily (Z. grandiflora) is native to southern Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean islands. These lilies can bloom in heavy shade, grow well in beach sand, and are salt-water tolerant as well. The Yellow or Lemon rain lily (Z. sulphureaor Z. citrina) exhibits orange stripes early on that become lemon yellow as the flower matures This species is naturalized in Hawaii. This variety is ideal for small and tightly planted gardens