How to plant, care for and grow Cyrtanthus
|Name derived from||Greek Kyrtos meaning curved and anthos meaning flower|
|Common names||Scarborough lily, fire lily, Ifafa lily, George lily, Knysna lily|
|Sun Exposure||C. falcatus: Semi-shade
C. galpinii: Full sun
C. elatus: Full sun and semi-shade
C. mackenii: Semi-shade
C. obliquus: Full sun
|Flower Colours||From bright red or rose to orange, yellow or cream|
|Frost Tolerance||Low, should be protected by mulching|
Cyrtanthus is a true bulb and is originally from South Africa and Swaziland. There are 60 different species including:
- Summer-growing species such as falcatus which flowers in early summer and C. galpinii which flowers in winter.
- Evergreen species such as elatus which has pink to deep red and seldom white flowers; C. mackenii which flowers freely and smells sweet and C. obliquus which offers twisted leaves that spiral.
At maturity the different species will be different lengths as follows:
- C. falcatus: 20-30cm
- C. galpinii: 12-20cm
- C. elatus: 25-45cm
- C. mackenii: 25-40cm
- C. obliquus: 35-60cm
Seasons and planting
Cyrtanthus require well-draining sandy soil with some compost and are grown best in a pot or in a rockery. The spacing between the bulbs should be 5cm and the lowest temperature is 5°C for C. galpinii and 0°C for the other species. They should be kept completely dry during dormant periods and it is recommended to only lift the bulbs during this season if there are no alternatives.
Can be propagated with seeds sown when ripe or by offsets.