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Description | Culture

@Habranthus & Zephyranthes


Zephyranthes is comprised of over 20 species; Habranthus almost 10. Often confused with one another, major distinguishing characteristics are that Zephyranthes flowers are borne straight up on the flower stalk having stamens of equal lengths while Habranthus flowers are borne at an angle and stamens are unequal in length. Flower color ranges from white to yellow to red.

Often called the rain lily, zephyr lily, or fairy lily, these genera range from South America to the south-eastern U.S. They sends up a solitary flower that opens straight up (Z) or at an angle (H), blooming within a few days of summer thunderstorms. Depending on the species, bloom periods may persist from 2 months in the summer to most of the frost-free growing season. The flower persists for 2 days, but the bulb can flower several times during the warm months of the year. Leaves vary from dark green and linear to several millimeter broad and strap-like or twisted. They may or may not be present during flowering.

Z & H vary in their hardiness, all being fairly tender to severe winter conditions. The general rule of thumb with both genera is a hardiness scale from USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7-10. A list follows featuring several species, their flower color, and natural Zone range.

Habranthus brachyandrus - pink, Z 8

H. concolor - green-white or creamy-white

H. plumieri -

H. gracilifolius - pink-white

H. juncifolius - red-green

H. longipes - pale red

H. robustus - pink

H. tubispathus - orange, yellow, or golden above, Z 8

H. versicolor - rose, Z 8

Zephyranthes atamasca - white, Z 8

Z. bifolia - pink, Z 10

Z. brazosensis - green, Z 9

Z. candida - white, Z 9

Z. citrina - bright yellow, Z 10

Z. drummondii - white, tinged red the second day, Z 7

Z. flava - yellow, Z 10

Z. grandiflora - bright pink, Z 9

Z. insularum - white flushed pink, Z 9

Z. jonesii - white-green, Z 9

Z. lindleyana - rose, Z 9

Z. longifolia - yellow, coppery outside, Z 8

Z. macrosiphon - white, stained red outside, Z 10

Z. mesochloa - white, stained red outside, Z 9

Z. pulchella - bright yellow, Z 9

Z. pusilla - yellow, Z 9

Z. rosea - rose, Z 10

Z. smallii - lemon yellow, Z 9

Z. traubii - interior white, outside w/ rose bands and green veins, Z 7

Z treatiae - white, Z 8

Z. verecunda - white, Z 10

Z. wrightii - pink, Z 10


Bulbs (plants) should be planted at a depth where the "neck" is just under the soil line. If you feel you live in an environment that might be borderline for plant hardiness, you can probably get away with placing the bulb at a depth that has the "neck" about 1" below the soil line. When planting bulbs in groups, place them about 2" apart. If your bulb has living roots, dig the hole so the roots may be spread out. Just like spring bulbs, these benefit from a handful of bone meal per one or two bulbs in the planting hole. Water in thoroughly. They prefer a well-drained soil and full sunlight. I wouldn't cheat on sunlight too much if I were you, but they are quite forgiving with soil quality. Because most of them bloom in response to cycles of water deprivation and surplus, they are excellent for inducing bloom in potted culture, too.

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