Methods to Develop and Look after Blood Lilies


Scadoxus multiflorus

Should you’re an enormous fan of the puffy, globe-shaped blooms of decorative alliums, then say howdy to their crimson-blooming cousin: the blood lily.

The title “blood lily” would possibly sound sarcastically hardcore for a flower, however for the reason that fiery-hot hues of Scadoxus multiflorus blooms are blood-like, it’s truly a fairly correct title.

A horizontal image of a fully flowered red blood lily bloom borne on a green stem.

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This crimson colour pairs effectively with the sunshine inexperienced hue of the leaves.

Mix these pleasant colours with the putting floral form, and also you’ve bought a very superior plant in your palms. However the way to develop it?

With data, that’s how… and this information has all of the know-how you want to start your plant parentage, from propagation to cultivation. 

Right here’s what we’ll be speaking about:

What Are Blood Lilies?

Previously labeled as Haemanthus multiflorus, Scadoxus multiflorus is a bulbous perennial from the Amaryllidaceae, or amaryllis, household which incorporates snowdrops, daffodils, and amaryllis flowers.

Hardy in USDA Zones 9 to 11, the blood lily traces its origins to tropical Africa, elements of South Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. Although it has “lily” within the title, S. multiflorus isn’t a true lily plant of the Lilium genus

A horizontal image of a red Scadoxus multiflorus flower blooming in a summer garden.

Let’s begin with the bloom clusters: Crimson, spherical, and 4 to 6 inches in diameter, the flower heads are literally composed of many particular person blooms borne on one to 2 inches of succulent stem, every with six pinkish-red petals and 6 yellow-tipped purple stamens.

Blooming in summer season, these flowers persist for as much as two weeks. If pollinators do their factor, then orange to purple berries will observe in fall.

The flowers and fruits don’t develop on precise stems, however relatively pseudostems consisting of overlapping leaf sheaths that connect with a rhizomatous bulb.

From every red-streaked bulb grows six to seven brilliant inexperienced, lance-shaped leaves, every 12 to fifteen inches lengthy.

A horizontal, closeup view of a group of orange-red blood lily flowers blooming outdoors in a tropical garden next to rocks and a tree.

As a complete, every plant grows one to 2 ft tall and 9 to 18 inches vast.

The bulbs comprise poisonous alkaloids, and shouldn’t be dealt with with out gloves or consumed. This “no consuming” rule goes in your pets and livestock, too!

There are three subspecies of S. multiflorus: multiflorus, katharinae, and longitubus.

The multiflorus subspecies is customary – therefore the redundant title – whereas the katharinae subspecies has barely bigger dimensions and flowers. The longitubus subspecies has barely elongated floral tubes, however it’s not generally seen in cultivation.

Cultivation and Historical past

The blood lily is greater than only a fairly face – it has many sensible functions.

Gambian farmers plant it as a good-luck juju for safeguarding their crops from thieves, Nigerian farmers mark the boundaries of their plots with it, and it’s used for poison fishing in each Guinea and Nigeria.

A horizontal, overhead shot of a fully bloomed blood lily flower on the island of Guimaras in the Philippines.

In lots of elements of Africa, S. multiflorus has quite a lot of medicinal makes use of. The crushed bulb is used to deal with critical wounds and friction burns, whereas the dried bulb promotes lactation when rubbed on breast scarifications.

Blood lily ointment is used for ulcers, a decoction constituted of the crushed bulb is taken internally to deal with hookworm, and the sap treats earache when utilized instantly into the ear canal.

I’m actually not saying these things doesn’t work, however I am saying that you just most likely shouldn’t strive any of it at residence, because the plant is technically poisonous to each people and animals.

Contemplate this a surgeon basic warning to proceed with warning… although I’m neither a surgeon nor a basic.

Blood Lily Propagation

To propagate blood lilies, you could have 4 choices: you’ll be able to develop from seed, divide offsets, plant bulbs, or transplant a potted specimen.

From Seed

For seed sowing, you’ll want entry to a specimen that has yielded fruit. Alternatively, you’ll be able to snag some seeds from associates or a good vendor.

Should you go the DIY harvesting route, wait till the orange to purple berries both drop from the plant or are crinkled and ripe sufficient to fall on the slightest contact.

Whereas sporting gloves, take the berries, mash them up, and take away the seeds inside. Then, rinse the seeds in a strainer to take away all of the pulp.

A horizontal closeup picture of two blood lily (Scadoxus multiflorus) fruits, borne on two green fruit stems alongside a multitude of other fruitless stems.

Fill a seed tray with a 50:50 mixture of peat moss and perlite, and scatter the seeds on the floor of the rising media.

Gently press them into the media with out burying them, then moisten with a sprig bottle. Ensure the tray is uncovered to brilliant, oblique gentle.

Hold the media moist because the seeds germinate. When new development is noticed which might take a number of months, you’ll be able to transplant them out within the backyard or into particular person containers.

It will probably take as much as 5 years for a plant began from seed to bloom, so persistence is essential.

From Offsets

Blood lilies broaden naturally by producing offsets from the mom bulb. Eradicating and replanting these each three to 5 years each manages a specimen’s measurement and gives you with extra crops!

However first, it’s vital to let your offsets develop for a rising season or two earlier than anticipating any flowers, since they most likely gained’t be giant and developed sufficient to flower their first yr.

In early spring, rigorously raise your goal plant, take away soil from across the bulb, and take away the offsets from the central bulb, both through the use of a sterilized blade or your gloved palms.

Return the mom bulb to its residence, then plant every offset into its personal container or patch of backyard soil. Plant every offset bulb in order that its “neck” is on the soil line, and water within the media round it.

Hold them well-watered as they change into established which ought to take a number of weeks to a few months.

From Bulbs/Transplanting

Whether or not you buy new bulbs or are setting out ones you’ve lifted and saved over the winter months, planting bulbs is easy.

Should you’re planting out in your panorama, be certain that your meant websites are in full solar or half shade and have fertile, well-draining soil, with a pH of 5.5 to six.5.

Potted bulbs ought to go in well-draining, but moisture-retaining medium – a fair mixture of peat moss and perlite is ideal.

Guarantee your chosen container has drainage holes within the backside and is one or two inches bigger than the bulb. You don’t desire a container that’s too giant as the additional potting medium can retain an excessive amount of moisture and trigger rot.

A closeup horizontal view of bright orange-red flowers of blood lily (Scadoxus multiflorus) blooming in a tropical garden with a natural environment in the background.

In spring, when all threat of frost has handed, plant every bulb an inch deep, apex up and basal plate down, spacing them 9 to 18 inches aside.

Water within the soil across the bulbs, and hold it evenly moist because the bulbs develop and develop foliage.

Should you’re transplanting a potted plant, dig a gap the identical measurement because the container the plant is at the moment rising in, gently take away it from the pot, and set it within the gap. Backfill with soil and water in effectively.

Simply be further cautious if you deal with the basis methods, as they don’t like being disturbed.

Methods to Develop Blood Lilies

Bought some blood lilies planted? Let’s discuss the way to hold them wholesome and joyful.

Local weather and Publicity Wants

If you wish to go away your bulbs in-ground year-round, then you definately’ll should be in USDA Zones 9 to 11.

They can be grown in cooler climates, however they’ll should be positioned in containers that may be introduced indoors earlier than temperatures dip beneath 45°F. Any colder, and the foliage will flip brown and begin to die again.

A horizontal closeup of the sun-struck red inflorescence of a Scadoxus multiflorus bloom in front of a blurry outdoor background.

Select a location in full solar to partial shade. The best spot would have full solar within the morning adopted by some shade within the afternoon.

Shiny, oblique gentle is finest for crops which are grown indoors.

Soil Wants

The best soil for blood lilies is organically-rich, fertile, and well-draining, with a pH of 5.5 to six.5.

A vertical shot of blood lily )Scadoxus multiflorus) growing from a shaded patch of soil in an outdoor garden.

In case your backyard has notably sandy soil, amend with compost or well-rotted manure to enhance water retention. Clay soils can profit from the addition of pea gravel in addition to compost to enhance drainage and add natural matter.

In spring, prime gown with compost or well-rotted manure and thoroughly dig it into the soil round your blood lilies so as to add natural matter and vitamins.

Water and Fertilizer Wants

For optimum development, keep even moisture all through the rising season. To do that, water every time the floor of the soil dries out.

Cease any supplemental irrigation when the foliage dies again in fall.

Common fertilization all through the rising season, beginning in early spring will assist promote robust blooms.

A slow-release fertilizer solely must be utilized a few times through the rising season, whereas a liquid fertilizer may be utilized as continuously as each two weeks. 

Jack’s Basic Blossom Booster

Strive a phosphorus-heavy fertilizer like this 10-30-20 Blossom Booster from Jack’s Basic, out there through Amazon.

Rising Ideas

  • Present full to partial shade publicity.
  • Water when the floor of the soil dries out.
  • Fertilize frequently through the rising season.

Pruning and Upkeep

Blood lily blooms final for as much as two weeks, so when you’re in search of lower flowers, that’s your window.

Make sure to lower the flower stem diagonally so it will possibly nonetheless take up water whereas touching the underside of the vase.

Should you don’t wish to accumulate the seeds seeds, lower the flower stems right down to the bottom when the blooms have pale.

When the leaves die, be happy to chop these to the bottom as effectively to tidy up the backyard. Take away any diseased or broken plant tissue you occur to note.

A horizontal image of a trio of orange red blood lily (Scadoxus multiflorus) flowers growing among leafy green foliage and low-growing plants outdoors.

In Zone 9, in-ground bulbs profit from a layer of mulch to assist them survive the winter chilly.

In cooler climates, the bulbs will should be lifted and saved when you don’t wish to plant new ones subsequent spring.

When the foliage dies again in fall, raise the bulbs someday earlier than the primary frost, as soon as temperatures begin to frequently keep beneath 45°F.

Lower the shoot and root tissue from the bulbs, and lay them out on newspaper for one to 2 weeks in a brightly lit indoor house to allow them to dry.

After they’re dry, put the bulbs in paper baggage or in a cardboard field with air flow holes, pack them with peat moss, and retailer them in a darkish, dry place stored at 50 to 60°F till spring.

The place to Purchase

To buy blood lily bulbs, you might examine along with your native plant outlets, bulb catalogs, or favourite on-line distributors.

You possibly can barter for one at a plant swap, or maybe snag one from a horticultural present.

In case your fellow inexperienced thumbs have some bulbs or seeds to trade for a few of your personal, then make with the commerce!

A nearly square image of a blood lily bulb in front of a white background.

Blood Lily Bulb

You’ll find bulbs on-line out there from Hirt’s Gardens through Walmart.

Managing Pests and Illness

Fortunately, S. multiflorus doesn’t actually undergo from critical pests and ailments, and it’s even proof against damaging herbivores corresponding to deer, rabbits, and rodents.

However you’re not out of the woods but. To maintain your blood lilies fully freed from well being points, you’ll want to organize for these potential issues.

Slugs and Snails

Whether or not they’re shell-less slugs or shell-wearing snails, these mollusks are actual slimy, and actual annoying. 

With their uniquely-textured tongues, they eat leaf tissue such as you or I file down our nails, which leaves uneven, but clean feeding holes in foliage. In consequence, photosynthesis is hindered and the plant’s well being is harmed.

Since these guys take shelter from the solar beneath the shade, it helps to take away any nonessential spots the place they will conceal: weeds, plant detritus, stones, and many others.

Should you discover slug and snail injury, you’ll be able to exit at evening with a flashlight to choose them off infested crops and crush or in any other case get rid of them.

A square image of three green plastic slug and snail traps sticking out of brown dirt.

Slug and Snail Traps

You may also catch them passively with some slug and snail traps like these plastic inexperienced beer traps, offered in units of three at Gardener’s Provide.       

Our information to managing slugs and snails may be discovered right here.

Bulb Rot

Consider it or not, roots truly have to breathe slightly – and when the soil across the root system is waterlogged, the roots don’t get the oxygen they want.

In consequence, the basis system and the bulb can flip necrotic and die, which hinders water and nutrient uptake for the remainder of the plant, inflicting the foliage to show brown and die again.

To stop bulb rot in blood lilies, it’s important to plant in well-draining soil and to keep away from overwatering through the rising season. It’s additionally vital to cease watering throughout dormancy.

Should you’re rising your blood lily in a container, be certain that it has ample drainage holes.

And if bulb rot takes maintain, you’ll be able to strive digging up the plant and transferring it to a extra appropriate location or potting it up in well-draining potting combine. But when it doesn’t get better, you’ll need to pitch the rotted bulb.

Finest Makes use of for Blood Lilies

A brilliant purple ball of blooms can play many roles in a backyard, it’s fairly sufficient to be the star of the present, whereas it will possibly additionally assist different specimens as an accent planting.

A vertical image of a cut blood lily (Scadoxus multiflorus) flower leaning sideways in a half-full pitcher of water placed on a white table, all in front of a white wall.

Put it in a container, and the blood lily is gorgeous on a patio or as an indoor houseplant. And don’t overlook its energy as a lower flower!

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Kind: Bulbous flowering perennial Flower/Foliage Shade: Crimson/inexperienced
Native to: Tropical Africa, Arabian peninsula Upkeep: Reasonable
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 9/11 Tolerance: Being root-bound, deer, rabbits, rodents
Bloom Time/Season: Summer time Soil Kind: Wealthy, reasonably moist
Publicity: Full solar to partial shade Soil pH: 5.5-6.5
Time to Maturity: Inside a yr (from bulbs), as much as 5 years (from seed) Soil Drainage: Nicely-draining
Spacing: 9-18 inches Attracts: Bees, birds, butterflies
Planting Depth: 1 inch Makes use of: Accent, lower flower, houseplant, container planting, specimen
Peak: 1-2 ft Order: Asparagales
Unfold: 9-18 inches Household: Amaryllidaceae
Water Wants: Reasonable Genus: Scadoxus
Frequent Pests and Illnesses: Slugs and snails; root rot Species: Multiflorus

Don’t Be Foolish, Snag Some Blood Lily

Belief me, rising blood lilies is effectively price it. Blood-red blooms, a compact measurement, ease of care… what’s to not love?

Congrats on having the ability to develop this ball-shaped magnificence. Might it brighten your backyard each summer season!

Any questions, issues, or suggestions and tips of your personal? The feedback part is for you!

Are you considering rising extra crops with ball-shaped flowers? Have a learn of those guides subsequent:

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