Oxblood lilies in McKinney

I looked back at photos I’ve taken in prior years, and these oxblood lilies have bloomed as early as the first week of September (this year) and as late as the third week of October (last year). They’ve bloomed one time a couple of years, but most years they bloom two or three times. They and I go back 40 years.

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A few details…
Native to Argentina
Brought to Texas by Hill Country settlers in 1850s
Until recently rarely sold in stores or by bulb sources – generally passed along from generation to generation
Grow to 10 inches tall
Flowers look like miniature amaryllis, ping pong ball-sized
Best show when planted in masses
Plant 3 inches deep and 3 inches apart
Do best in well-draining soil and when left undisturbed so they can multiply
Blooms following fall rain
Often rebloom 1-2 weeks later
Foliage is foot-long, grass-like
Leaves follow flowers and persist through winter and spring
Occasionally in independent retail garden centers. Better online bulb retailers offer them. I’ve even bought off eBay, twice with good results and once receiving tiny bulbs. That supplier did note that they would be small. I missed that warning.

My friend, Smith County Extension horitculturist and premier Texas bulb fancier Greg Grant gave me a beautiful pink type of the plant. It’s much more difficult to find. It bloomed two weeks ahead of the red type. It had been raining when it was blooming. I’ll get a better photo next year when it isn’t so muddy.
Posted by Neil Sperry
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