Oxblood Lilies
(Red Texas form)
Oxblood Lily (Rhodophiala bifida)
Suitable for wet or dry locations. Formerly known as Hippeastrum advenum, this is closely related to the Christmas amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybrids). However, it is fully cold-hardy outside and ideal for the home garden. It has very dark red flowers, with a tiny green star in the center, looking like a miniature, funnel-shaped Christmas amaryllis. Florets are about 2" across, clustered 5-8 on each 1 foot stem. Said to be quite tolerant of shade, although I myself have only grown it in the open along with my other bulbs. Leaves are only 1/4"-3/8" wide, 8-10" long, reminiscent of a jonquilla hybrid narcissus such as Golden Dawn or Trevithian, but less upright.

It is in leaf from autumn until June, when it goes dormant. This dormancy will be partial and last only a few weeks if the plant is in the gardeen, getting watered with the other flowers. New leaves will appear in July with flowers, then another flush of leaves in August with more flowers, then even some more growth and bloom in September, with the leaves remaining green through the winter until the cycle begins again the following June.

However, if grown in a dry (rainfall-only/naturalized) situation, it will be fully dormant all summer, blooming just once in late September or early October, the flowers appearing before the new leaves ("naked"), just like miniature Amaryllis belladonnas!

Bulbs are odd-shaped, long and narrow, with a small knob at the bottom end and should be planted with only about an inch of covering over the top.

As the years pass, the bulbs may pull themselves deep into the ground, as much as a foot deep, growing to the size of a large narcissus bulb, having a long neck extending all the way to the surface of the ground.

Bulbs multiply rapidly, especially with at least a little summer watering, however as is typical of other amaryllis, they form an extensive root system, so prefer to be left undisturbed for many years. If you wish to divide or move them, do so as soon as the leaves die back in June and replant immediately, with the small bulbs planted shallowly, only the larger ones deeper.

For the connoisseur, other colors may occasionally be available. Please ask.