RAIN LILY, ZEPHYR FLOWER, FAIRY LILY

FAMILY: Amaryllidaceae | GENUS: ZEPHYRANTHES

TYPE
  • Perennials
  • Bulbs
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11

Plant Details

Clumps of grassy, 1- to 112 feet-long leaves give rise to slender, hollow stems, each bearing a single funnel-shaped flower with six segments. Flowers of some kinds resemble lilies; those of other types look like crocuses. In the wild, flowers bloom after a rain (hence the common name rain lily), and they may appear in the garden after a good soaking. These are old-timey passalong plants. Deer don't bother with them.

Need little care. Pretty in rock garden or foreground of border. Excellent pot plant for patio or greenhouse. Plant in early summer; set bulbs 12 inches deep, 3 inches apart. In the Upper South, mulch hardier species heavily over winter. Container plants bloom better when somewhat pot-bound.

atamasco lily

zephyranthes atamasca

  • Semievergreen.
  • Native to the Southeast.
  • Blooms in midspring, with pink-striped buds opening to fragrant, crocuslike, pure white flowers to 3 inches long.
  • Florida native Zephyranthes a.
  • treatiae (Zones CS, TS; USDA 9-11), has grasslike leaves and pure white, crocuslike flowers that open from red buds; blooms two to four weeks before the species.

white rain lily

zephyranthes candida

  • Evergreen.
  • From Argentina and Uruguay.
  • Glossy, crocuslike flowers are 2 inches long, pure white outside, tinged with rose inside, borne on stems as long as the leaves.
  • Blooms in late summer, early fall.

pink rain lily

zephyranthes carinata

  • Deciduous.
  • From Central America.
  • Lilylike, rose-pink, 4 inches-wide flowers bloom on 8 inches stems in summer.
  • Blossoms open out flat at midday, close by afternoon.

yellow rain lily

zephyranthes citrina

  • Deciduous.
  • From tropical South America.
  • About the same size as Zephyranthes candida and blooms at the same time, but the fragrant blossoms are deep yellow.

giant prairie lily

zephyranthes drummondii

  • Deciduous.
  • Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11.
  • Native to the Texas Hill Country and Mexico.
  • Large (4 inches.), fragrant, lilylike, pure white flowers open in the evening.
  • Blooms most heavily in early spring, then sporadically through late summer, fall.
  • San Carlos Form and 'Fedora' are Mexican selections.

zephyranthes flavissima

  • Deciduous.
  • From Brazil and Argentina.
  • Resembles Zephyranthes citrina, but with brighter green leaves and canary-yellow flowers.
  • May remain evergreen with sufficient summer water.

zephyranthes hybrids

  • Deciduous.
  • Most widely offered is 'Ajax' (a cross between Zephyranthes candida and Zephyranthes citrina), a free-flowering plant with light yellow blossoms.
  • Other hybrids available from mail-order specialists include 'Alamo', with deep rose-pink flowers flushed yellow; 'Apricot Queen', yellow blossoms stained pink; 'Batik', apricot flowers centered in yellow; 'Big Dude', large white flowers blushed pink at the tips; 'Heart Throb', dark pink flowers with a white eye; 'Krakatau', bright red-orange with a yellow center; 'Prairie Sunset', large light yellow blooms suffused with pink; 'Ruth Page', rich pink blooms; and 'Tenexico Apricot', rich apricot flowers that turn pale pink on their second day of bloom.

zephyranthes macrosiphon

  • Evergreen in warmer part of range.
  • From Mexico.
  • Similar to Zephyranthes grandiflora but produces smaller (nearly 3 inches.), rich pink flowers, comes into flower a little earlier, and continues blooming over a longer period.
  • Full sun or partial shade.

zephyranthes reginae

  • Deciduous.
  • From Mexico.
  • Bears 212 inches., crocuslike yellow flowers in midsummer; blossoms open bright yellow, then fade to cream on the second day.
  • Originally sold as 'Valles Yellow'.

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