August 19, 2006

Zephyranthes- Rain Lilies

Zephyranthes 'Labuffarosa'
I never intended on collecting Zephyranthes, to be honest, one comes across them in many specialty bulb catalogs, and even sometimes in home centers, but my first Zephyranthes arrived in my greenhouse, as an escapee from florida. On September 11, 2001, I was flying home to Boston from Orlando when I became stranded in central Florida. Instead of returning my car rental, I decided to drive home to New England. Since I had just built the new greenhouse, and had an empty minivan, I decided to make the best of it and take my time driving home, hitting nurseries all along the east coast, This helped take my mind off of what was happening, and it allowed me to add sizeable plants of Camellia and Jasamine that I otherwise would not have been able to recieve through mail order.

Zephyranthes candida
The following summer, a bright white flower bloomed in a large potted camellia pot which was outside. I had seen the nice foliage, and thought that it was some sort of bulb which may have fallen in from the greenhouse, but I once it bloomed, I knew what I had. A Zepyranthes candida, the Rain Lily - purported to bloom after heavy rains, (and indeed it does following a dryng off period). I removed it from the pot and found it its own nice container, where it produced a few more blossomss through the summer. In the winter, I let it go semi dormant, under a bench.

I also became interested in growing more Zephyranthes, finding the mail order source PLANT DELIGHTS in North Carolina having a superb collection. By the following summer, I had a half dozen species and named varieties growing, although, this year, I only keep these two since basically, they survived the rough treatment I give them. They only bloom a few days out of the year, so I grow them more as a novelty. IF I am lucky enough to be home when they bloom, as this week, it's a nice surprise. Other than that, I do nothing to them other then rbign the pots in for the winter, and back out for the summer.

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