A True Tuberous Lily – The Gloriosa Lily

A true, tuberous lily that climbs by coiling its tendril-like leaf tips tightly around remote support. Gloriosa Lily flowers are frilled and wavy, the petals curved back sharply to show off the spectacular stamens.

The colors are brilliant red and yellow, changing as the flowers age. The average height of the climber is three or four feet.

gloriosa lily flowerPin

The tubers are safely hardy only where the soil never freezes, although I know of some plants in a sunny, sheltered spot on Long Island that regularly reappears each spring.

The glory lily in a sunny window or greenhouse has open, exciting foliage and eye-catching flower color and form. It is a great accent plant for container gardens. And where it is hardy, it is used for garden decoration along low walls or as a border specimen.

Gloriosa Lily Culture

Culture includes warmth (60° degrees Fahrenheit or more) and above-average humidity; all except the hottest sun; moist soil moderately rich in humus; and regular feeding up to flowering time.

Pot generously (one tuber to a 6″ inch pot), so there is room for developing new twin tubers by the end of the season.

Don’t pinch or break tender stems, or they will not flower. Propagate by removing tuber offsets or dividing tubers into pieces with at least one growing tip or “eye.” Seeds sown at a warm 75° degrees Fahrenheit will produce tubers that flower in two or three years.

Plant Gloriosa tubers two or three inches deep, either horizontal, vertical, or slanting – as long as the eye is at the top. Keep soil dryish until new growth appears, then water plentifully.

The planting time varies with the species; an early spring planting will flower in about eight weeks. Bottom heat speeds rooting.

When flowering is finished, the tops will gradually turn yellow and dry or die. Dig garden tubers and store like gladiolus or dahlias, moderately warm and dry, until spring.

Clean off potted tubers and store them on a shelf until signs of new growth appear. Either way, the old tuber will usually be found shriveled – and two new, firm tubers grown from its tip.

Gloriosa Rothschildiana

The most popular species, is Gloriosa Rothschildiana with flowers red, gold, and cream fading to soft rose. It will flower at almost any time of year.

Gloriosa Superba

Colored flowers, ruffled on edge in late summer and fall. The variety of lutea is solid yellow, but tubers are hard to find.

Gloriosa Virescens (planti, simplex) 

A smaller plant with yellow flowers in light shade, yellow and red in full sun. It blooms in summer.

Family: Liliaceae
Common Name: Glory Lily, Gloriosa Lily

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