Rain lily day, new photos

James Yourch yourch@nortelnetworks.com
Thu, 15 Jul 2004 10:05:06 PDT
Jim McKenney wrote:

>Jay, are those plants outside all year around?
>Although we are both nominally zone 7, I have trouble
>keeping Zephyranthes through the winter outside here.
>Maybe I'm not planting them deep enough. I get a
>scattering of bloom, but I've never had an honest-to-goodness
>rain lily day here. Do you have any suggestions for growing these
>outside? Do you take any particular precautions with them?


Except for Z. rosea, which I dig up and store frost-free for winter, all of
my rain lilies are outside year round.  I plant them as deeply as I can, but
they are small so planting them very deeply is not possible.  Some of them,
Z. sp. Labuffarosa comes to mind, will push themselves up to the surface as
they get crowded, so occasionally I will reset them deeper before colder
weather arrives.  Unlike Crinum, rain lilies are easily dug and don't seem
to mind disturbance, so I feel comfortable doing this anytime during the
growing season.  Like Crinum, most gardening literature has way
underestimated the cold tolerance of these interesting and beautiful little

The only precautions I take are to keep them in locations that are sunny in
the winter so that the frost does not get a chance to penetrate to the depth
of the bulbs.  This is easy at my place because I live in a deciduous
woodland that is very sunny in the winter, but I avoid places shaded by the
house.  They are mulched year round, but if I see an extended period of cold
weather coming I will throw extra mulch on the more tender varieties and
remove it when normal winter weather returns.  Z. candida is very cold hardy
and a nice species.  I sent some to a relative near Harrisburg, PA and they
come through winter there just fine.

Tony Avent, the source for many of my rain lilies, may have much more to say
about this, so I hope he can pitch in, although he may be too busy with his
open house right now.        


Jay Yourch

Central North Carolina, USA (USDA Zone 7)

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