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Flame Lily - How to Grow Gloriosa or Flame Lilies

Share Your Story: What Are Your Favorite Plants?

By Beverley Ann Swanepoel

Flame Lily - How to Grow Gloriosa or Flame Lilies

My beautiful flame lily.

Flame Lily - How to Grow Gloriosa or Flame Lilies

Flame lily: too gorgeous for words.

The Name of My Favorite Plant

The name of my favorite plant is "flame lily" (Gloriosa superba).

How I First Found Out About This Plant

My brother-in-law bought a home two years back and this plant grew all along the wooden beams of his driveway. Flame lily is a climber. I asked him for a shoot of his vine, and when he removed a piece with a bulb on, broke it in half, I was very skeptical whether it would grow or not, but it did.

How I Have Cared for This Plant

I put the flame lily bulb into the ground and fed it fertilizer and plant food, let me tell you it took 7 years to eventually start growing, it's in a position with lots of sun and some shade, does not like a lot of water and is getting stronger, I make sure I give it plant food regularly.

Pests, Diseases or Other Problems for This Plant

I haven't really found anything on it but what I do find always flying around the plant is the black hornet/wasp with the yellow belly.

Why I Love This Plant So Much

Flame lily is absolutely stunning, the flowers start off a light color and as they grow they start turning a deep orange color and it looks exactly like a flame on a fire, hence the name, "flame lily." You will also see, unlike other flowers, that this one's stem comes out from the front and in the middle of the flower, not from the back like other flowers. My is still young but makes a stunning show and I can just imagine how it will look once it has spread all over the fence where it grows. It's a very hardy plant and does not need that much attention but I love it and it's gorgeous to look at and makes a beautiful show.

Location: My Region, Location of the Plant in My Yard

I live in Walkerville in Gauteng, South Africa and have my plant growing against a fence in the sort of middle of my garden. It gets full sunlight through the morning and then the late afternoon shade in the afternoon. We have quite dry, dense soil so I have put a bit of fertilizer and/or compost into the soil and my flame lily seems quite happy with this. As I said, it's a climber and has thin little tendrils that grab around a barb wire fence or whatever it finds.

Tips and Tricks

  • I have planted the garlic flower, which makes tiny lilac flowers, around my plant, I also have snowdrop lilies around it which are yellow in colour and make a lovely show although they don't flower all year.
  • Don't give too much water as flame lily prefers to have a bit of dry ground now and then.
  • What you need to be careful of is that the roots shoot up new plants and they start growing, so you need to have quite a bit of open space around the plant.
  • Flame lily needs to be against a fence or trellis as it looks for something to grip onto when it grows and climbs.

David Beaulieu, About.com Landscaping, says:

Gloriosa superba is a tropical plant. You can learn about more plants suitable for South Africa and other warm climates in my article on tropical flowers.

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