Entering Autumn - 2014 - This backyard view from upstairs in the dining room.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Have You Seen a Glory Lily?

First, I have to tell you a little story!

This past Spring, a very sweet friend gave me some tiny little "tubers" about 3/4" - 1 1/2" long and smaller in diameter than a pencil. She'd received hers from her sister the year before. She called them "Climbing Lilies." Neither of us really knew what they were.

I potted mine with a small (too small) trellis. I also have them growing in a spot that receives some sunlight and dappled shade. They now look like this. I don't think they'll be blooming, but ... perhaps next year... when I place them in a slightly sunnier spot with a taller trellis. :-)


Glory Lilies (Gloriosa supurba) are originally from tropical Africa and Asia. They are the national flower of Zimbabwe.

The plants have leaves with curling tendrils which aid in their climbing. Being a vigorous climber, they're perfect for a trellis or small arbor. I've read they climb from 8 to 12 feet.

The flowers are spidery, with six red petals with yellow borders.

The photo below (as well as much of the information on this post) was taken from an informational web-page written by Mississippi State University's Office of Agricultural Communications.


The tubers can be started early in late Winter, indoors, for transplanting later... or later in the ground once the weather has warmed. The location should receive plenty of sunlight, preferably with morning sun and afternoon shade.

Tubers planted in containers should be planted in light, airy soil. Whether in the landscape or in a pot, tubers should be buried two inches deep and laid flat on their side. Feed monthly with light applications of slow-released, balanced fertilizer.

If you live in the warmer climates, gradually reduce watering and add a layer of mulch to protect the ground, as soggy Winter soil may prove fatal to these tubers.

For people, like myself, who live in colder climates, dig the tubers in late Fall, after the vine dies back. You can carefully divide the tubers, being sure to include a growing point on each division.

There are other varieties such as Rothschildiana, which is scarlet; Citrina, which is yellow; and Simplex, which is orange and yellow.

9 comments:

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

Very beautiful and interesting, I had not seen this plant before. I hope yours blooms in the 2nd year! :)

LC said...

I actually grew one of these the first year I added my first greenhouse in the early '70's and haven't had one since. It's interesting to see this as I just posted about that part of my yard about ten minutes ago or so and was thinking about that particular greenhouse that I really miss! Thanks for the reminder... L

Rosemary said...

Shady This looks like a beautiful vine. I wonder if one would grow in my area?

troutbirder said...

I've seen them in the catalogues but never in person. I'll be curious to see how you do with this interesting plant.

Shady Gardener said...

Rebecca, I'm excited to try this again next year, too! :-)

LC, An interesting statement in the information I read was that someone had planted one years earlier and it hadn't grown. About 3 years later, it sprouted in their bed. Now, I know they're not hardy in your area (or mine), so that won't happen...

Rosemary, Of course it would! If you started it indoors way early in Spring. My problem was also that I didn't receive these until mid-June and didn't planted them until the first of July! ha.
(Would you like a couple of tubers? I'd be glad to share when I bring mine indoors!)

troutbirder, It would be fun to have something thrive in one's garden that's so unusual!

joey said...

Not familiar, Shady, but it's lovely.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Joey, I will try to see if I can "do it right" next year! :-)

Kathleen said...

omg, I'm so glad I saw this post! I've bought two tubers (one each of the past two years) and every year I kill them. Not sure what I'm doing wrong except maybe planting them in full sun?? I saw a photo on the Internet which is what made me look for them. I hope, hope, hope yours blooms next year. Now you've inspired me to try ONE more time! It would be so worth it if they'd bloom.
ps Your new bed looks great.

Shady Gardener said...

Kathleen, Do you have tubers? I'd love to send you a couple... I'll head over your way and make the offer. :-)