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Sprekelia formosissima (photo courtesy of Joshua McCullough/PhytoPhoto)
Sprekelia formosissima (photo courtesy of Joshua McCullough/PhytoPhoto)

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Zones 9, 12-24
Full Sun
Regular Water

Sprekelia formosissima

Jacobean Lily, Aztec Lily
Bulbs and bulblike plants, Perennials, Flowers

Mexican native often sold as Amaryllis formosissima. Foliage looks like that of daffodil (Narcissus), but each 1-ft.-high stem is topped with a dark red, 6-in.-wide bloom resembling an orchid, with three erect upper segments and three drooping lower ones that are united at their bases (near the flower’s center) to form a tube. Bloom comes primarily in early summer.

Where bulbs are hardy, plant them in fall, setting them 3–4 in. deep and 8 in. apart in good, well-drained soil. They look most effective in groups. Display increases if plants are left undisturbed for several years. Where winters are cold, set out bulbs in spring; lift plants in fall when foliage yellows and store in a cool, dark, dry place over winter (leave the dry tops on). Or grow in pots like amaryllis (Hippeastrum); repot every 3 to 4 years. In mild climates, foliage may be evergreen and the plant may blossom several times a year if you can give it a dry period after flowering, then resume regular watering to trigger a new growth cycle.

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