Blood Lily Care: How To Grow An African Blood Lily Plant
Africa is home to many beautiful flowers, but it’s not just the colors that make them so appealing. Flowers are one of the most effective ways to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. Many species of flowers have been cultivated for centuries throughout Africa.
Some of these plants produce edible fruits or seeds which are used in traditional medicine. There are several types of flowers native to Africa including the African violet (Viola odorata), the African nightshade (Solanum tuberosum) and the African blood lily (Lilium longiflora). All three species belong to the same family, Lilialae. They all bloom from late spring through early summer and their blooms vary in color from pale pink to deep red. The Blood Lily is native to sub-Saharan Africa. The plant grows up to 15 feet tall and produces small, oval, yellowish-white flowers with five petals. These blooms are followed by two stamens (stalked ovaries) that contain numerous tiny black seeds. Seeds of the Blood Lily are edible when they germinate in warm soil. They grow best in rich loamy soils and require little water. These plants are fairly resistant to frost. The leaves of the Blood Lily are between 7 and 15 inches long. These leaves are somewhat arrowhead-shaped with wavy edges and range in color from green to deep green. The Blood Lily is also called the African Border Lily, the African Day Lily, the African Planting Lily, the African Poppy and the African War Correspondent. The Blood Lilium is very similar to the Asian Common Day Flower (Hemerocallis fulva). These two species are often difficult to differentiate from each other and hybridize easily. African Blood Lilies are not used medicinally, but they do have several traditional uses. The seeds are very nutritious and have been used to feed domesticated animals by African tribes. The fresh leaves were also used as plates for human consumption. The Blood Lily gets its name from the fact that the flowers close before sunset like a sunflower but reopen in the morning like an amaryllis. The Blood Lily is protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora). The reasons for this include habitat destruction, over-collection, unregulated trade and climate change.
Blood lily flower
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Blood lily flower
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Overview of the Blood lily flower
A brief history of the Blood lily flower
How to take good care of your Blood lily flower
Pointers to remember when planting a Blood lily flower
Common problems and diseases that affect the Blood lily flower
Other tips and advice on growing the Blood lily flower
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Blood lily flower
Blood lily plant care starts when you buy your Blood lily plant. You want to keep the soil around the roots moist but not waterlogged. Blood lily flower bulbs can be very sensitive to over-watering.
If you do over-water, gently remove as much as you can from around the bulb and let it dry out a bit before watering again.
Blood lily flower fertilizer
Once your Blood lily plant has sprouted, you can begin fertilizing it. Use a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorous. Blood lily flower prefers a pH between 6 and 7.5.
An easy way to check the pH of your soil is with store-bought pH test kits (which you can find at most garden centers). Follow the directions on the package for how to use the kit.
Blood lily care includes providing good drainage for your soil. Blood lily roots need oxygen to survive, so it is vital that you never let the soil become compacted. If you start to see the leaves of your Blood lily plant curling up and turning brown at the tips, it probably means that the plant is not getting enough oxygen.
Over-watering can cause similar damage to your Blood lily plant. If the soil becomes waterlogged and the plant cannot get enough oxygen, it will begin to die. Check your Blood lily plant at least once a week to see if it needs watering.
Other general tips for Blood lily care
Keep your Blood lily plant in an area that receives either full sun or light shade. The leaves will burn if the plant is placed in intense, direct sunlight without any shade. The soil where your Blood lily is planted should be kept consistently moist, but not waterlogged.
Cover the base of the plant’s pot (not the roots) with a layer of mulch to conserve moisture and keep the plant cool.
Finally, take a look at your Blood lily plant every once in awhile and enjoy its beauty!
Blood lily care should be simple as long as you remain vigilant. With a little effort, in a year or two you could be enjoying the blooms of a Blood lily in your home or garden!
If you like taking care of plants check out these books on Amazon: The Everything Home Herbarium Handbook: A Simple Guide to Identify and Grow Your Own Medicinal Herbs and Edible Wild Plants and Flowers of North America: From the Ozarks to the Arctic Ocean, Including Hawaii and Puerto Rico
Learn more about African violets.
Sources & references used in this article:
The development of cells in the coenocytic endosperm of the African blood lily Haemanthus Katherinae by W Newcomb – Canadian Journal of Botany, 1978 – NRC Research Press
Intermicrotubule bridges in mitotic spindle apparatus by PK Hepler, JR McIntosh, S Cleland – The Journal of Cell Biology, 1970 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Regulation of mitosis: Ii. Interaction of isopropyl n-phenyl-carbamate and melatonin by WT Jackson – Journal of cell science, 1969 – jcs.biologists.org
In vitro propagation, phytochemistry and pharmacology of the blood lily, Scadoxus puniceus. by D Naidoo – 2016 – ukzn-dspace.ukzn.ac.za
Fine Structure Study of Pollen Development in Haemanthus katherinae Baker: II. Microtubules and Elongation of the Generative Cells by JM SANGER, WT Jackson – Journal of cell Science, 1971 – jcs.biologists.org
Fine structure studies on mitosis in endosperm metaphase of Haemanthus katherinae Bak. by P Harris, A Bajer – Chromosoma, 1965 – Springer