Growing Rain Lilies: How To Care For Rain Lily Plants
By Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Rain lily plants grace the dappled shade garden, producing adorable blooms following rain showers. Growing rain lilies is not difficult when the right conditions are available to the plant. This article will help.
Zephyranthes Species, Cuban Zephyr Lily, Fairy Lily, Pink Rain Lily, Rainlily
Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
Where to Grow:
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Soil pH requirements:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
On Jun 6, 2013, ulvehun from Ebeltoft,
I have only grown it indoors in a pot. Tried to place it outside last summer in the pot, but it seemed to be burnt by the sun, so I would like to hear from anyone who has tried - in a climate like mine (Denmark) - and succeed to plant it in the garden and what to do in winter?
My bulbs are more than 60 years old, but growing and renewing all the time
On Jul 26, 2003, StAndrew from Lutherville Timonium, MD wrote:
A very beautiful flowering bulb! In my experience with this rain lily, it seems to like being pot bound . with its many offsets. I was living in Zone 6 . Cleveland, OH (less than a mile from L. Erie . though it may be considered Zone 5b or 5a . depends on your source) when I first started growing this bulb. I let it go dormant in the pot it was planted in. The following Spring, I resume watering (same pot). the new growth zooms up, quickly, followed by the flowers that look like large Q-tips before they open up. I have not noticed a fragrance . maybe I need to take a closer sniff!
I divide the bulbs and re-pot every two or three years . depending on how closely they were originally potted.
The initial blooming consists of numerous flowers almo. read more st all at once. Then, it flowers regularly, though not as prolific, throughout the summer.
This Zeph. is widely available. I have not tested its hardiness, but others consider it to be very tender. As a pot plant under glass it does not bloom as profusely as many of the other species.
On Aug 22, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:
Z. rosea is sometimes confused with the larger Z. grandiflora, but their flowering habits easily distinguish the two species, as Z. rosea has significantly smaller, rounded blooms, sometimes with eight blossoms. In contrast, Z. grandiflora has six-petalled blooms nearly three times the size.
Zephyranthes, The Magic Rain Lily
Mirror, mirror of the pond, which is the fairest rain lily in the world?
(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on September 29, 2009.)
Paraphrasing the famous question of the witch queen from the "Snow White" fairytale, I'm introducing you in the magical world of the Zephyranthes. This beautiful bulb has several popular names like rain lily, fairy lily and Zephyr lily, all talking about its magic. It's not a real magic, but it always surprises! Zephyranthes has an abundancy of blooms after every rain and the flowers are growing so quickly, they seem to appear from nowhere, like in magic made with a rainy spell!  And since the Zephyr is the western wind which brings the rain, they called the plant "Zephyranthes" - the plant that needs the Zephyr to blow and bring the rain so she can bloom.
This delicate plant with thin leaves, looking more like a herbaceous plant than a bulb, is attractive not only for the bees, but also for people. Its flowers are white, pink, yellow or other colors resulted from hybridizing. Most of them have a delicate fragrance. If you didn't know they were Zephyranthes, you could easily mistake them with the crocuses because of the flower's shape which face upward. 
In our country it is also called the 'Lily Flowers Grass'.
Zephyranthes genus is from the Amaryllidaceae family and has about 70 species, but only a few can be grown indoors. It is native to Southeastern U.S., and Central and South America. 
If you are living in the U.S. zones 7 through 10 you can plant the Zephyranthes bulbs in the garden and keep them during winter .
You can divide the bulbs in the fall or in spring. They can multiply by seeds too, but only if they are sowed as soon as the pods get yellow and the seeds are black, not later. If the seeds are allowed to dry, they will germinate much later, even after a year.
From zone 6 north, the bulbs have to be dug out and kept indoors in sand during the winter. In spring, you can replant the bulbs in the garden, in a sunny place. If you choose to plant Zephyranthes in containers, you won't have to dig them out before the first frost, just bring them inside the house and keep them in a cool place, watering a bit every few days. 
They are spectacular when planted in groups in your garden, but they have to be divided to increase blooming.
Zephyranthes grandiflora is the most common rain lily. It blooms all summer and its flowers are pink. The color of the flowers fades the next day and they look like having a different color.
Zephyranthes candida, also called the 'Brazilian crocus', has smaller white flowers and blooms at the end of the summer and early fall. It can be hardy even farther north than zone 6, if planted near the house or if they are covered during winter to prevent freezing.
I've learned this from my own experience with Zephyranthes. My mother gave me these two plants with thin, long leaves. One was blooming all summer and had pink flowers, while the other one had white flowers and wasn't blooming until the end of summer. Later on, when I repotted them, I found out they were bulbs. I've always loved them because their flowers were so sweet and brought such delicacy to my balcony with their pink and white colors! While the one with the white blooms has beautiful green foliage all year, the one with the pink blooms always keeps losing its leaves especially during winter. I've now learned that they are Zephyranthes grandiflora and Zephyranthes candida, the best-known species in my country from this genus.
Recently I found out they are more species of different colors, many of them being hybrids. I have now bulbs from Zephyrantes citrina and Zephyrantes reginae, which were sent to me by a very good friend of mine.
Zephyranthes citrina (syn. Z. sulphurea) has yellow flowers which have a nice fragrance and don't fade color like most Zephyrantes do.
Zephyrantes pulchella has a bit more color than citrina.
Zephyrantes reginae (Queen's Rain Lily) has yellowish flowers, but thinner petals.
Zephyranthes traubii has the tallest stalks and white flowers.
Zephyranthes rosea has smaller flowers with 8 petals, different from the other Zephyranthes, which have 6 petals blooms.
Many hybrids were obtained, like Zephyranthes 'Ajax' which is a hybrid between Zephyranthes citrina and Z. candida. It opens yellow and fades to white the second day.
Zephyrantes 'Grandjax' is a hybrid between 'Ajax' and Z. grandiflora.
Zephyrantes 'Java', 'Krakatau' and 'Tenexio Apricot' have a beautiful coral-apricot color.
Zephyranthes 'Pink Panther' is a cute hybrid between Zephyranthes grandiflora and Z. traubii.
Very similar to Zephyranthes' flower, also classified in the same family are Habranthus and Cooperia flowers.
Habranthus is different from the Zephyranthes because it holds its flowers in an angle rather than upright. 
Another difference is that the Zephyranthes has equal stamens, while the Habranthus has unequal stamens. 
Hybridizers have obtained many Habranthus hybrids of different colors.
Habranthus robustus(Argentine rain lily) 'Russel Manning' has large blooms and shorter leaves.
Habranthus brachyandrus looks very much like Hippeastrum and has a beautiful touch of fuchsia color at the bottom of the flower, inside and out.
Habranthus 'Cherry Pink' hybrid is a very popular hybrid of Habranthus robustus and Habranthus brachyandrus.
Habranthus tubispathus is also called Copper Lily because of the flower color.
Cooperia is a desert wild plant related to Zephyrantes. It has a fragrance similar to primerose and a tolerance to drought and desert conditions.  It is a nocturnally blooming plant, unlike the Zephyranthes which blooms at mid-day.
Cooperia drummondii (syn. Cooperia chlorosolen or Zephyrantes chlorosolen) is a common rainlily with white petals.
It is oftenly mistaken with Zephyrantes drummondii, also known as Chebolleta, the evening-star rain lily and the giant prairie rain lily. It can reach 18 inches height and has a beautiful flower with the appearance of a star because of the star arrangement of the petals and sepals - all the same - thus they are called tepals.  Very rarely Chebolleta has 2 blooms from a single bulb. 
Cooperia smalli or Zephyranthes smalli, is a natural hybrid of Zephyrantes pulchella and Zephyrantes chlorosolen . 
According to another source, Cebolleta is Cooperia drummondii. 
Let us enjoy the beauty of these magical flowers and let the botanists make up their mind.
Many thanks for allowing me to use their beautiful pictures to our DG friends: htop, triodastra, Dinu, TomH3787, jmlynn, Lophophora, klaasje, kdjcl, dmj1218, rosemarysims, BuriedTreasures, dbell, azreno and frostweed.
For more information, check the Daves Garden Plantfiles.
Plants→Habranthus→Argentine Rain Lily (Habranthus robustus)
|(2)||Argentine Rain Lily|
|Pink Fairy Lily|
|Pink Rain Lily|
|Plant Habit:||Herb/Forb |
|Life cycle:||Perennial |
|Sun Requirements:||Full Sun |
Full Sun to Partial Shade
|Minimum cold hardiness:||Zone 8a -12.2 °C (10 °F) to -9.4 °C (15 °F) |
|Maximum recommended zone:||Zone 11 |
|Plant Height :||12-18 inches|
|Plant Spread :||18 inches|
|Flower Color:||Pink |
|Flower Time:||Spring |
Late spring or early summer
Late summer or early fall
|Underground structures:||Bulb |
|Wildlife Attractant:||Bees |
|Propagation: Other methods:||Offsets |
We made it! Winter is over and it's springtime! Let's celebrate with a special week dedicated to these beautiful bulbs that brighten our gardens every spring, and we open that week with a look at the most popular of these plants.
One of the largest-flowered and robust rainlilies, the aptly named Habranthus robustus hails from Argentina and Brazil. Unlike rainlilies in the Zephyranthes genus, its flowers face at an angle to the stem giving them the look of a multi-flowered miniature amaryllis. Each trumpet flower is 3"-4" long and as wide at the flared petal tips. It's common for the Argentine Rainlily to repeat bloom throughout the warm season. In warm climates, the nicely arching flat leaves remain evergreen. It's a fast multiplier by both fresh seeds and bulb off-sets. Although it can survive some drought, it performs best with adequate, even substantial, rain throughout its growing season and revels in the steamy heat of a Deep South summer.
A limiting factor to cold hardiness is that the bulbs lie very close to the soil surface, often having parts of the bulbs above the soil lne. Some gardeners have reported success north of zone 8a by heavily mulching the bulbs for winter. Typically a pass-along plant in areas where it grows, it's also available through good on-line vendors.
Asiatic Hybrid Lilies
Highly popular, Asiatic hybrid Lilies are derived from the following species and interspecific hybrids: amabile, bulbiferum, callosum, cernuum, concolor, dauricum, davidii, L. × hollandicum, lancifolium (syn. tigrinum), lankongense, leichtlinii, L. × maculatum, pumilum, L. × scottiae, wardii and wilsonii.
- Asiatic hybrid Lilies are among the earliest to bloom in early-mid summer, and the easiest to grow.
- Asiatic hybrid Lilies offer a wide array of colors, from the softest pastels to fiery reds and oranges that practically ignite when the sun shines on them.
- Asiatic hybrid Lilies bear 4-6 in wide blossoms (10-15 cm) on 2-5 ft. tall plants (60-150 cm).
- Asiatic hybrid Lilies feature straight stems, high bud counts and generally brightly spotted blossoms and vary in shape from simple open bowls to flowers with exquisitely recurved petals.
- Vigorous, long-lived, Asiatic hybrid Lilies seldom need staking.
- Asiatic Lilies enjoy a long blooming season (up to 1 month) but most of them are unscented.
- Planted in spring or fall, they thrive in full sun to part shade locations and do great as potted plants or as cut flowers. They are not fussy about soils, provided they are fertile and well-drained. Good moisture is required and dry soils should be avoided.
Favorite Asiatic Lilies
Dwarf Asiatic Hybrid Lilies - Pixie Series
Among the easiest lilies to grow and the earliest to bloom, dwarf Asiatic 'Pixie' Lilies feature large, brightly-colored, satin trumpet flowers delicately freckled in the throat, that can't be missed! Held on sturdy stems that do not require staking, their crimson, yellow, orange or pink enormous exotic blossoms are in full fanfare for weeks of color!