The gloriosa lily is a tuberous rooted perennial that blossoms into an exotic crimson and yellow flower. The flashy blooms are easily identified by the outward spread of their wrinkled petals, gracefully curving backward over the vines. Using its tendrils, the gloriosa can climb over 2.7 metres (9 feet) high adding a dramatic backdrop of vivid colour to any garden. You can grow the gloriosa outdoors in the UK, providing the tender tubers are protected from freezing during winter.
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Things you need
- Gloriosa tubers
- Compost or peat moss
- Small shovel
Pre-sprout gloriosa tubers to encourage rapid growth after planting by placing them in damp saw dust in a warm location. Once visible growth and development can be seen sprouting from the tuber, bulbs can be successfully moved to the outdoors.
Find a sunny planting site with well-drained soil. If the soil in your area is thick or clay-like, adjust it by adding generous amounts of compost, peat moss, leaf mould, decomposing bark or manure to the intended area as these components will enrich the soil and improve the overall drainage.
Dig one 10 cm (4 inch) deep hole for each tuber. Position the planting sites 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8) inches away from each other.
Place the tuber inside the hole so that the emergent growth is directed upwards and lies above ground level. Push the soil around the newly planted bulb pressing lightly with your finger tips to compact the loose dirt. This will provide light supporting the new plant growth. If you did not pre-sprout your bulbs they can be situated in the newly dug hole in any manner you wish. The plants will grow towards the surface and the sun without additional guidance.
Water each plant thoroughly. Gloriosa lilies have fairly high water requirements, particularly when exposed to arid summer conditions. Try to keep the soil moist, but do not let the plants become waterlogged as this could lead to root rot.
Tips and warnings
- Before planting the bulbs, a support system should be installed so the plants can be trained to climb as they grow.
- Gloriosa lilies respond well to bi-monthly feedings. Every two weeks add a general purpose fertiliser for maximum growth and blooming.
- Protect new growth by covering the soil surrounding recently planted bulbs with a thick layer of mulch.
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