Haemanthus–commonly called blood lily–is a perennial bulb that produces globe-shaped clusters of flowers that bloom at the top of a leafless stem. Some flower umbels have as any as 100 very small but long tubular flowers, usually blood red colored–thus the common name.
Haemanthus flowers are borne above basal strap-shaped leaves that reach 12 to 18 inches long. Haemanthus flowers bloom in summer and fall; flowers are followed by scarlet berries.
Haemanthus can be planted outdoors in beds and borders in warm-winter regions. It can also be grown as a houseplant.
Haemanthus is a genus of about 20 species of bulbous perennials. Haemanthus is native to grassy and rocky hillsides in South Africa.
Get to Know Haemanthus
- Plant type: Bulbous perennial
- Growing zones and range: Zones 13-15
- Hardiness: Tender
- Height and width: 8 to 18 inches (20-45cm) tall and wide
- Foliage: Strap-shaped to lance-shaped mid to dark green basal leaves
- Flowers: Small flowers in showy umbels
- Bloom time: Summer to autumn
- Uses: Beds and borders; houseplant
- Common name: Blood lily
- Botanical name: Haemanthus
- Family name: Amaryllidaceae
- Origin: South Africa
Where to Plant Haemanthus
- Light outdoors: Grow Haemanthus in full sun or dappled shade.
- Light indoors: Give Haemanthus bright when buds open to prolong flowering.
- Soil outdoors: Grow Haemanthus in well-drained, moderately feritle, neutral ot alkaline soil.
- Soil indoors: Plant in a soil-base potting mix with added leaf mod and grit.
When to Plant Haemanthus
- Plant Haemanthus bulbs in autumn or winter.
Planting and Spacing Haemanthus
- Plant bulbs with the necks above the soil surface in autumn or winter.
- Space Haemanthus to 12 inches (20-30cm) apart.
How to Water and Feed Haemanthus
- Water Haemanthus freely when growing. Keep the soil just moist when Haemanthus is dormant.
- Fertilize Haemanthus with a dilute, balanced liquid fertilizer monthly.
- Haemanthus flowers best when pot-bound; they can remain in the same container for many years.
Growing Haemanthus as a Houseplant
- Grow Haemanthus in a cool room with direct light and average to high humidity.
- Plant bulbs with the tip just above the sruace of a well-drained, soilless medium, and keep it evenly moist during growth and flowering.
- Fertilize Haemanthus monthly when the plant is growing or flowering.
- After the flowers have bloomed, withhold water and allow the foliage to turn brown.
- Store bulbs over the winter in a pot, and resume watering in ealry spring.
Haemanthus Pests and Diseases
- Haemanthus may be atacked by mealybugs and scale insects.
- Soft rot, anthracnose, and botrytis blight may be a problem for Haemanthus.
- Sow seeds as soon as they are ripe.
- Remove and pot up offsets in early spring.
Haemanthus Varieties to Grow
- Haemanthus coccineus. Mid-green , strap-shaped leaves to 18 inches long; up to 100 small red flowers with prominent yellow stamens in umbels.
- H. multiflorus. Leaves to 12 inches long; tubular blood red flwoers in clusters 6 to 12 inches across on 18-inch stems; up to 100 flowers in a cluster; flowers are followed by scarlet berries.