The world of flowers is full of wonderfully interesting and unusual blooms, and one of my favorites is the Gloriosa Lily (Gloriosa superbosa), which has several commonly-available cultivars including ‘Rothschildiana’, shown here.
Gloriosa Lily is native to Africa, and is in fact the national plant of Zimbabwe. The plant itself is a “scandent” vine, meaning it climbs by leaftip tendrils. The flowers point down, with petals curving up and back, and are very long-lasting. The vine sprouts and grows quickly from a long thin tuber, with individual vines dying back after the bloom season and new vines emerging from the tuber to take their place.
Gloriosa Lily is hardy in zones 9 – 11; those in other zones can lift the tubers and store them in damp peat moss for the winter, or simply replace the bulbs each spring. It needs regular deep watering during the bloom season, and a dry dormant season. Plant in full sun to light shade in well-drained soil. Click here for detailed information on successfully growing Gloriosa Lily in any part of the country.
While becoming more popular in the nursery trade, Gloriosa Lily should be used with caution in the landscape as it is extremely poisonous. One-tenth of an ounce of the tuberous root is said to be enough to kill an adult human. All parts of the plants, including leaves, flowers, and berries, contain the chemical Colchicine, which has medical applications but is very toxic in its natural state. Do not plant Gloriosa Lily where it could be consumed by children or pets. It is also very invasive in parts of Australia, but not listed as a problem in any part of the U.S. according to my research.
Do you grow Gloriosa Lily? Tell us where you are and tips for growing it there in the comments below!