The Q&A Archives: Caring for Gloriosa Lily

Question: I purchased a climbing Gloriosa lily in the spring and planted it as directed. It has now approximately 7 feet high and has only a few blooms on the very end of the plant. I am trying to find out more about this plant and how to care for it. I have not been able to find any information on what needs to be done with it now that cool weather is approaching, and how to care for it next year. Should I keep it cut back so it does not get so tall? The one I saw at the local flower show was only about 3 feet high in a container.

Answer: The Gloriosa lily is native to Africa and is reliably hardy only in Zones 10 and 11. Gloriosa rothschildiana grows to 6 ft. and has 3 in. yellow and red flowers. Gloriosa simplex grows to 4 ft. and has smaller orange and yellow blooms.

The plants grow best in full sun to part shade and need lots of water during the spring and summer. Gloriosa's are heavy feeders, so plan to apply a diluted liquid fertilizer every 3 weeks during growth. When the leaves begin to yellow in the fall, reduce watering, lift the roots and store them in dry wood shavings or dry peat moss at 55-60F over the winter. Take care when handling the roots -- if the top ends break off, they won't regrow. Replant the roots outdoors in the early spring. If yours is in a container, you can take the whole pot indoors for the winter. Enjoy!

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