Caring for the blood lily like a pro might seem like an intimidating task at first but with this extensive guide, you will become an expert on the matter in no time.
The African blood lily is a plant native to South Africa. It is also referred to as snake lily plant and its botanical name is scadoxus puniceus. Blood lily produces globes of reddish-orange blooms that look similar to a pincushion. This plant is a real show stopper and it thrives in early summer and spring.
These 10-inch, flashy blooms are a part of the scadoxus multiflorus, a family of about 60 bulbous perennials. Here is everything you need to know about caring for the blood lily like a pro:
Blood lilies are further divided into two categories; the deciduous kind or the evergreen variety. The deciduous blood lilies seasonally shed their parts that they deem unnecessary such as foliage from their overall structure. These plants need some rest before they can bloom again.
This evergreen species thrives all year long and there is no seasonal leaf shedding involved. However, this doesn’t mean that these blood lilies don’t shed leaves at all. On the contrary, they replace their foliage as they age.
The African blood lily is also referred to as Haemanthus albiflos. In the botanical books, the word Haemanthus means blood flower. This genus of flowering plants is Southern African and is of the evergreen variety. It is a unique plant with colorful, broad leaves that are tongue-shaped and consist of huge, globe-like bulbs.
The globe-like structure of a blood lily comes in either white or red color. These plants grow in clusters and they appear to have little, flat heads that resemble a small paintbrush. Dark green or white bracts surround these small bunches, making the species aesthetically appealing and suitable for use as house plants.
The main highlight of the flower is its bright yellow anthers that complement the white / red appearance quite well. These beautiful and unique features make blood lilies look like fiery fireballs. While these plants don’t produce any significant scent, their stunning appearance makes up for the lack of fragrance. The evergreen leaves of these blossoms make them last all year long.
Blood lilies readily reproduce by offsets or adventitious buds. You can remove them after the flowering period ends. Carefully separate the offsets from the parent plant when they are developed and have some root on them. This plant also occasionally produces fruits when indoors. This is usually because of a lack of pollinating insects. However, when the plant does produce a seed, you can sow and grow it. Moreover, propagation can take place for several years with very little care.
Caring for the Blood Lily Like a Pro
The blood lily craves a cheery and bright environment. The ideal condition to provide for blood lilies to thrive is a room with a lot of sunlight. However, make sure that you don’t expose them to too much sun during the summer time. While you can safely put the Haemanthus albiflos in protective shade, its foliage can come off as pale-looking and dull green.
The Haemanthus katherinae is the sister species of Haemanthus albiflos. Both equally love summers and high temperatures. Therefore it might be best to put them out in temperatures of 60°F and higher. Now, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that these plants are incapable of tolerating and surviving extreme frost in chilly winters.
While you can safely place blood lilies (Haemanthus albiflos) in a conservatory as house plants, other Haemanthus species need to be potted and kept in shaded windows, depending on the blooming period. Blood lilies can thrive all year long under sunny conditions and flourish outdoors during the summers.
Blood lilies are low maintenance plants and they don’t necessitate much attention. One thing you need to be careful about is to not put them directly under the scorching sun for a long period of time. A partial shade environment is ideal for them to bloom. You also need to frequently inspect the plant and its foliage and constantly remove any withered ones. This ensures that the lily’s appearance isn’t affected negatively.
Haemanthus coccineus also belongs to the scadoxus genus of Amaryllidaceae family. Other names for this plant are April fool, King of Candia and powder puff lily. This species consists of 2 leaves per globe. They love shaded kloofs and rocky slopes as habitats and they require partial shade, regular watering and light soil with sufficient drainage to thrive.
Potting and Feeding Blood Lillies
Make a good mixture of rich potting soil and sand in a planter and place your blood lilies in them. Since these plants are quite sturdy, they don’t require regular repotting. Remember that in order for blood lilies to thrive and grow lush blooms, you need to leave them alone. Once your blood lilies start becoming active and grow, water them sparingly, gradually increasing their water intake as their blooms and overall size grow.
You can also feed some plant food to your blood lilies – once in 2 weeks. In cold weather, only water the plant when you feel like the plant and soil are appearing too dry. Other than that, you don’t need to water blood lilies when they shed their withered leaves.
We hope that after reading our detailed guide, you realized that caring for the blood lily like a pro isn’t as difficult as it seems. All you need to do is water these plants throughout the growing season with care, without making the ground soggy. A light application of any balanced garden fertilizer every now and then might also be a good idea!