Rain Lily

I’ve known Zephyranthes spp. / Rain Lily for 20+ years, when they were getting sold in more quantity to nurseries where I lived, but they never caught on – only a few designers used them.

Photos from 7/3/2014 –

I saw this Thursday morning!

2009 was when I first specified Zephyranthes into a project. It was in 3 masses totalling over 90 peach, yellow and white, into the office breezeway where I rented a space.

Though they take the ever-tough dry, hot shade, my now-patio is the first time planting them for myself.

Yellow Rain Lily / Zephyranthes citrina
more buds (both opened just before I wrote this)

My office planting thrived, lush like monkey and mondo grasses all winter – but on less water. Some of their staff gleefully asked, “what kind of grass is this with such big flowers?” Kudos, since those architects are into all things bamboo, Japanese maples, westernized Buddhism, and eastern green…in the desert.

And quite a compliment on Zephyranthes – those only got weekly or biweekly hand-watering from a roof cistern when new.

another yellow Z. citrina…but there are a few whites (Z. candida) not blooming yet

Have you used rain lilies? And what do you like, that need little to no irrigation for dry part/full shade?

9 Replies to “Rain Lily”

  1. I just saw pink rain lilies planted in several places in the Philippines last week. Other plants we are familiar with that I saw quite frequently were several kinds of agaves and Ficus indica prickly pears.

    Agaves and cacti do not surprise me, as many seem to need tropical / no-frost conditions and not desert. But rain lilies…given what I guess would be there in flowering low plants, that’s cool!


  2. I grow the pink rain lilies, which are very nice, and the native white ones have spread on their own in my island garden out front.

    Some pink ones ended up in my hospital project, those may be my favorite! I bet Casa Tecolote (Rancho Estrella del Muerto) is perfect for them.


  3. Gorgeous and congratulations. I love these flowers. They grow wild in an area that used to be a lawn before The Great Drought. I hate to admit this because they are kind of a cliche around here but I just love Ruellia brittoniana. I never have to water them and they not just tolerate the deep shade but seem to want to be there.

    Had a cool-down then some heavy showers late…my guess is another trigger to bloom? The Ruellia is attractive, and they are in my office neighborhood, too, and the landlord’s so-so gardener does leave them at least.


  4. Mine unfortunately are Not Happy–what could I be doing wrong? What do they need? Shade?

    Gravelly to clay soil, and part shade inland helps (where regularly above 90-ish). 1x week water at most once established, especially since your “rainy season” is reversed from our’s…let soil dry out in between water.


  5. I’ve never heard of these but they look like beauties.
    Maybe now that you’ve blogged about them they will catch on!

    You never know, apparantly a couple other plants I posted on suddenly became used?!?


  6. I’ve never planted Zephyranthes, but it’s definitely a pretty flower. Maybe I’ll try it in the shady area of the Gravel Garden. Normally I wouldn’t think something that likes hot weather would grow well here, but this summer with our recent week+ in the 90s has me rethinking that. It looks worth trying.

    I could be wrong – but in your area, I would opt for a warmer spot with decent drainage, with only light afternoon shade at most. It might do it, as this summer and many others are usually drier. Should be available mail order. Or maybe a TX blogger where it’s more common can send you some bulbs of it?


  7. I just put in some lilies last season but they are potentially getting more sun than they like. That’s just the way I do things apparently – stubbornly putting plants in more or less sun than they want because that is where I want to see them, and then having to move them into more suitable quarters after acknowledging I goofed up. Lather, rinse, repeat…

    I like pigeon berry plants in dry shade. Once established they are tolerant of extremes and look good, with lots of interest nearly all year long.

    Pigeonberry sounds like a good one – I had to read up on it since new to me – http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=RIHU2

    That means you’re a gardener. Now, if you were an old-guard landscape architect, you would take all 6 plants you know, design them for others to plant too close, get the photo, collect fees, be uppity to the 10% of your peers w/ a clue, and move on to the next sucker client :-) Your approach is better!


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