How to Grow Haemanthus

Blood lily, Haemanthus multiflorus
Blood lily, Haemanthus multiflorus

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
Blood lily, Haemanthus multiflorus
Blood lily, Haemanthus multiflorus

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 Care

  • 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.

Haemanthus Propagation

  • 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.


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