Sunshine Farm and Gardens: Rare and Exceptional Plants
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Rare and Exceptional Plants for the
Discriminating Gardener and Collector

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` Cyrtanthus elatus
Cyrtanthus elatus
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I really can't spare the time or space for very many tender plants,  but here's one hell of an exceptional specimen that's virtually idiot
proof.  Cyrtanthus elatus can be potted into a 6" pot and left there for years.  In the first year of growth,  multiple new bulbs will be formed kinda "piggyback" on the main bulb.  When these new bulbs put on a little weight,  the pot becomes full and you are blessed with multiple blooms of huge,  soft red,  Amaryllis like flowers.  I've seen them flower at random times throughout the year,  but always a reliable May bloomer in this hemisphere.

After flowering,  go ahead and pull a handful of bulbs off and pot them up.  You'll have an endless supply of gifts for your friends.  Even when it is not in flower,  the dark green,  supple foliage is attractive.

The name Cyrtanthus comes from the Greek Kyrtos,  meaning curved and anthos,  flower. This is a reference to the flower head that bends downward from the top of the stalk.

The clone that I'm growing came from Alan Armitage at the University of Georgia at Athens.  It's a superior strain to the ones found in commerce that have been imported from Holland.  The Dutch bulbs tend to be shy about flowering.

There are over 50 species in the genus Cyrtanthus,  many other species also have merits as houseplants. 

Just the facts M'am:
Kingdom -
Plantae - Plants
Phylum - Anthophytae
Class - Monocotolydonae - Monocots
Order - Liliales
Family - Amaryllidaceae
Genus - Cyrtanthus
Species - elatus
Common name - genus - "Fire Lilies"
Common name - species - "George Lily", "Scarborough Lily"
Synonyms - Vallota speciosa, Vallota purpurea
Native of - South Africa to eastern Africa
USDA Hardiness Zone - Zone 10
Light preference - Full sun to light shade,  almost any window.
Soil preference - Rich in organic matter
Moisture preference - Moist to average, drier in winter, but water well in growth.
Bloom time - Early - mid Spring
Bloom color - White to red and every in between shade
Foliage - Dark green,  supple
Spread - 8" -12"
Height - 12" - 18"
Landscape uses - Houseplant in most of US. Keep bulb partly exposed or barely covered.
Medicinal uses - none that I have found

2001 Barry Glick and Sunshine Farm & Gardens

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Last modified February 25, 2020