HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
The Zephyranthes, more known as rain lilies, they are wonderful bulbous plants much appreciated for their simplicity of cultivation and for the beauty of their flowers.
Species: see the paragraph on "Main species"
The genre Zephyranthes of the family of Amaryllidaceae includes plants native to the prairies of central and south America.These are bulbous plants with linear leaves, erect flowers, from funnel-shaped to tubular, solitary, white, purple, yellow or pink depending on the species.
They are well known by the name rain lilies since they often bloom after rain which follows long periods of drought.
There are about 70 species in the genus Zephyranthes among which we recall the most used for ornamental purposes:
There Zephyranthes candida native to Argentina and Uruguay, it is a perennial bulbous plant that can reach up to 30 cm in height. The leaves arise directly from the bulb in number of 4-6 and are erect, linear, up to 40 cm long.
It blooms from late summer and throughout the autumn producing white flowers, rarely tinged with red on the back of the petals, 3 cm long, characterized by showy golden yellow stamens that stand out against the white of the flowers. to the leaves.
It is a rustic plant that adapts well to living in the gardens of the temperate climate areas. In such areas it is possible to leave the bulbs outdoors, at least mulching the soil. However, in case there is a risk of frost, it is advisable to unearth the bulbs in late autumn and store them in an inert substrate, kept slightly humid.
There Zephyranthes citrina, native to the tropical areas of South America, is a bulbous perennial species that produces erect and linear leaves up to 30 cm long.It blooms from summer and throughout autumn, producing small, golden yellow flowers .
It is highly appreciated for its beauty and widely used as an ornamental plant.
The bulbs must be dug up in late autumn to keep them until the following spring in an inert substrate kept only slightly humid as it is a plant that does not tolerate the cold very well.
CUTE ZEPHYRANTHES (MINUTE ZEPHYRANTHES)
There Zephyranthes carinata native to Central America, it is a deciduous perennebulbosa with leaves that always grow from the bulb, linear, shiny and reddish at the base and with a semi-erect bearing. It blooms from the end of spring, producing delightful large, funnel-shaped, pink flowers with a slightly lighter throat, up to 7 cm long. The flowers do not produce seeds and for this reason according to some botanists it should be considered to all effects a hybrid (hybrids do not produce seeds) and not a species.
In several countries this plant maintains the old nomenclature ofZephyranthes grandiflora, especially in America. It is also often found on the market erroneously with the name Habranthus robustus.
There Zephyranthes rosea is a deciduous bulbous perennial plant with glossy linear leaves, up to 20 cm long. It produces small, funnel-shaped pink flowers up to 3 cm long in autumn.It is native to the mountainous areas of Cuba and is therefore a plant that can withstand the cold quite well.
Of the Zephyranthes numerous spontaneous natural hybrids have been found among which we remember:Zephyranthes 'Labufarosea' with large pink and white flowers that open in the afternoon discovered in Mexico in the state of Tamaulipas; Zephyranthes 'Cookie cutter moon' also found in the State of Tamaulipas in Mexico with large flowers, non-overlapping white tepals with a yellowish and green base and yellow anthers and numerous others, but there are also numerous man-made hybrids, selected mainly in Europe and India which have a thriving trade.
Zephyranthes is not a difficult plant to grow.
Generally the bulbs are bought in spring and are immediately repotted leaving them to develop in a warm and covered environment. In late spring, when the danger of frost has been averted, they go outside in the sun.
If you already have the plants then it is preferable that the bulbs are taken from the ground in late autumn and sheltered in a protected environment during the winter period, keeping the soil only slightly moist (it is sufficient to spray a little water every two weeks on the surface of the soil). In spring they can be transplanted into the ground and abundantly watered to stimulate the regenerative recovery. Only the Zephrianthes candida among all the species it is the most resistant to cold (not frost) and the bulb can overwinter outdoors as long as it is in a slightly humid environment.
During all of the active growth of the plant (spring-autumn) water regularly.
TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT
The bulb must be buried at a depth double their height. Repotting should not be done every year but every 2-3 years. They are not particularly demanding in terms of soil: the important thing is that it is well draining so as not to retain too much moisture, therefore at least 30% of sand is added to a good fertile soil.
Arrange several bulbs in the vase, close to each other at a distance of 15-20cm from each other. The vase must preferably be long and low to have a nice decorative effect and also in consideration of the fact that being bulbous, they do not require a great depth which would rather be harmful as it would retain too much humidity.
Only during the active growth of the plant is it fertilized once a month using a fertilizer richer in potassium (K) to favor flowering. Therefore, when buying a fertilizer make sure that in addition to having the three main compounds such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (making sure that this is in greater quantity) it also has microelements such as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn ), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), all important for proper plant growth.
They are plants that cannot be pruned. Only the parts that dry out or become damaged are eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.
The flowering period of the Zephyranthes it is during spring and summer but some species bloom in autumn (see "Main species"), usually at the same time as the leaves are released.
In nature, flowering is generally induced by the abundant rains that follow hyperiods of drought for this reason it is important when the bulbs are planted, after the winter period, to water abundantly.
The flowers last only two or three days but the same plants can be stimulated to bloom repeatedly with abundant watering carried out several times during the spring / summer. After about 10 days after abundant watering, the plant blooms.
The multiplication of Zephyranthes takes place preferably by bulbils. It is also possible to do the multiplication by seed, only that generally it takes about a year and a half to obtain flowering plants and the seeds generally maintain their germinability for a short time.
MULTIPLICATION FOR BULBILLS
The multiplication occurs mainly thanks to the bulbils (smaller bulbs) that grow around the main bulb.
PARASITES AND DISEASES
They are not prone to disease. Only excessive humidity can damage the plant and make it less resistant.
The name Zephyranthescomes from the Greek zephyros "Zephyr" western wind e anthos «Flower» that is to say «flower of the west wind» since this wind brings the rain which causes the flowering of these species.
It is said that the first Spanish explorers who arrived in Argentina at the Rio de la Plata saw a field full ofZ. candida where the golden stamens shone in the sun so much that they described the river as silver river (plata in Spanish it means "silver"), from which the name of Argentina seems to derive.
The Zephyranthesuntil not so long ago they were incorporated into the genre HabranthusThey then acquired a genus in its own right as it was seen that there were substantial differences concerning the bearing of the flowers that in the genus Zephyranthesare in line with the stem while in the genus Habranthus they are at an angle; the hepals which had significant differences; the seeds than in plants of the genusHabranthus they had an oblique flap absent in the Zephyranthes.
They are called rain lilies because they bloom after heavy rains (or watering).