African Blood Lily Planting Guide

Gardeners and outdoor decorators tend to be an adventurous lot, always on the lookout for something new. African blood lilies are unlikely to show up at a local garden center so if you're inclined towards botanical exploration, you're in luck. Here they are!

Planting Outdoors

If you live in a part of the country where the ground doesn’t freeze (Z 8-11), these bulbs can be planted outdoors. Choose a site where the soil is lightly moist but drains well as these plants don't appreciate soggy settings. Adding some grit to the soil to ensure good drainage Plant in a full sun to partial shade setting.

Planting In Containers

Plant your bulbs upon receipt. If you need to store the bulbs for a few weeks until you can get to them, a warm, dry, dark place is ideal. Please, never store them inside the refrigerator, as the gases given off by ripening fruits and vegetables can damage the sprouts inside the bulbs.

How to Plant African Blood Lily Bulbs

Loosen the soil to a depth of 6" and 4 to 5" apart. Consider adding some compost to provide nutrients and to help with moisture management. (Compost aides drainage and holds a bit of moisture to help keep roots hydrated.)

Place the bulbs so that their necks protrude slightly above the soil surface. Refill the planting holes and water well to settle the soil around the bulbs.  

Water sparingly until foliage appears. Monitor moisture (rain, irrigation or manual watering) as needed to keep the soil very lightly moist. Before the bulbs have developed leaves, little moisture is needed. Less is better in this case.

During the Growing Season

Continue to monitor moisture (rain, irrigation or manual watering) as needed to keep the soil lightly moist. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer once or twice during the season.

At Season's End

For gardeners in cold regions, African Blood Lily bulbs can be overwintered indoors and replanted in the spring. Dig bulbs before the first frost, trip off top and allow to air dry for several days. Pack in peat moss and store in a cool, dary, frost-free place until spring. 

Insider Tips

  1. This plant is also known as Scadoxus and Heamanthus. 
  2. When flowered has wrapped up in the fall, reduce water. This helps nudge the plants into dormancy, preparing them for overwintering.
  3. These African natives are used to, and happiest in, warm weather. Wait to plant or move outdoors until soil and air temperatures are warm, about 60F or more at night.
  4. African Blood lilies do well when pot bound and resent being moved. Leaving plants in the same pot year after year (bringing indoors during winter in cold regions) is often successful.
Shop Blood Lilies
Shop Blood Lilies

Success Snapshot

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Average well-drained soil; enrich with compost

Depth: Plant so bulb necks are slightly above soil line

Water: Light until top growth emerges appears, then average 

Uses: Spectacular blooms

Tip: Can be grown in gardens or containers

GUIDE: African Blood Lily Planting Guide

They Start Out Looking Like This: