20 - 30 cm
Red; November to January; spring summer
shade; light shade; green walls; damp shade; container; wildlife bees butterflies insects
woodland forest; coastal kzn; cliffs
subtropical east coast; thicket
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The Eastern Cape offers us a bulb made for the month of love. This small community thrives safely tucked up a pot in the shade of a Lavender Tree, Heteropyxis natalensis, and a Ribbon Bush to offer added protection. The colour range is glorious, a word from by-gone days, I know; orange-red, pink-red, or bright red. I find the flared trumpet-shape one of the most beautiful of floral designs, a bit like a musical star, and these are large, up to 10 cm long. One to four blooms per plant pop off the tip of slim stems. This species is evergreen. Natural habitat is in the moist leaf litter on the forest floor, or in shady rock crevices where organic material collects. These days, though, habitat destruction has restricted the largest communities to rather inhospitable places, like hanging off cliff faces; from October to February, for example, these red trumpets cover the rock faces of sections of the Kloof Gorge. Foliage is rather sparse, between 2 and four strappy, dark green leaves per bulb. Plants along the coast usually flower from November to January, but when grown further inland and at higher elevations, flowering often extends into February, suggests Geoff Nichols. It is easy to increase your collection of the Inanda Lily, for seed germinates readily and rapidly if sown in a loose mix of well-rotted compost and sharp, coarse river sand. Seed grown plants flower at three years old. Add organic mix the soils to supply food and moisture, and ensure good drainage as the Inanda Lily does not do well if roots sit in water for more than a couple of days. Some call it the Fire Lily, a common name used for many of the species, derived from their ability to emerge from the bare earth soon after a fire.