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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 asAmaryllis formosissima. Foliagelooks like that of daffodil (Narcissus),but each 1-ft.-high stemis topped with a dark red, 6-in.-wide bloom resembling anorchid, with three erect uppersegments and three droopinglower ones that are united attheir bases (near the flower’scenter) to form a tube. Bloomcomes primarily in earlysummer.

Where bulbs are hardy, plantthem in fall, setting them 3–4 in. deep and 8 in. apart ingood, well-drained soil. Lookmost effective in groups. Displayincreases if plants are leftundisturbed for several years.Where winters are cold, set outbulbs in spring; lift plants in fallwhen foliage yellows and storein a cool, dark, dry place overwinter (leave dry tops on). Orgrow in pots like amaryllis (Hippeastrum);repot every 3 to4 years. In mild climates, foliagemay be evergreen and plantmay blossom several timesa year if you can give it a dryperiod after flowering, thenresume regular watering to triggera new growth cycle.

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