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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - November 30, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Propagation, Transplants, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Propagation of rain, oxblood, and copper lily bulbs
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have Rain Lily, Oxblood Lily, and Copper Lily bulbs out of the ground, that are putting out some green growth. I would like to plant them soon. Is it okay to plant now and in December, or do I have to wait till spring? Thank you.

ANSWER:

If your Cooperia pedunculata (Hill country rain lily) and Habranthus tubispathus (Copper lily) bulbs are sprouting you should go ahead and plant them now.  Choose a sunny spot and plant the bulbs 8 inches deep for best bloom or 4 inches deep to encourage bulb division.  Oxblood lilies (native to South America) can also be planted now.  Moisten the soil thoroughly so that the roots can "catch up" to the sprouting shoots, but then let the soil dry out until spring.  Cold weather coupled with continuous moisture can cause bulb rot.

If our occasional rains bring on rain lily and copper lily blooms, collect the black seeds just as the seed capsule begins to open.  Plant them just below the soil surface right away because the seed do not remain viable for long.  In this way you can soon have a remarkable showing after rains.

 

From the Image Gallery


Hill country rain lily
Cooperia pedunculata

Copper lily
Habranthus tubispathus

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