Plant DetailShow Menu

Cyrtanthus

Previously known as:

  • Vallota speciosa
Phonetic Spelling
ser-TAN-thus
Description

First described in 1789 by botanist William Alton, Cyrtanthus is a large genus in the Amaryllidaceae family with 55 named varieties that flourish in a wide range of forms and colors.  These South African native perennial bulbs grow in tropical and temperate zones, with their habitats ranging from along streams to dry desert locations. They can even be found growing as epiphytes on other plants.  Within the family, there are summer growing and winter growing varieties with heights from a 4" to a spectacular 30".

Its leafless stem, up to 30", emerges from a partially to fully exposed bulb.  The large bulb, covered with a papery, outer tunic is rounded or somewhat egg-shaped.  Individual bulbs can produce one to several stems, with each stem boasting one to several flowers.  Variety specific, the white, yellow, orange, red, and pink flowers can be scented or unscented and stand erect or hang in a pendent form.

Reproduction is typically accomplished by offsets and bulblets.  The bulblets detach from the bulb to become independent plants while others reproduce by bulbils at the tips of the stolons.  The bulbils can fall to the ground or can be removed by hand.  

After flowering, the leaves will emerge.  Depending on the variety, they can be succulent and narrow to leathery and wide.  A single plant can produce a solitary leaf to up to 16 leaves.  

In the North, allow full AM sun, while in the South, allow 25% shade.  When planting, cover the bulb to a depth of 1 in. (2.5 cm).  Plant one bulb per 5-in. pot.  Injured below 25 degrees F (2 degrees C).

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • C. obrienii
  • Cyrtanthus elatus
    Erect stem to 18"
  • Cyrtanthus spiralis
    Spiral foliage
C. obrienii , Cyrtanthus elatus, Cyrtanthus spiralis
Tags:
#bulb#frost tender#tropical perennials#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • C. obrienii
  • Cyrtanthus elatus
    Erect stem to 18"
  • Cyrtanthus spiralis
    Spiral foliage
C. obrienii , Cyrtanthus elatus, Cyrtanthus spiralis
Tags:
#bulb#frost tender#tropical perennials#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cyrtanthus
    Family:
    Amaryllidaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Houseplant
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Sudan to South Africa
    Wildlife Value:
    Host plant for the Table Mountain Beauty butterfly.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Easy to Grow
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Bulb Storage:
    Store bulbs in peat or vermiculite at 41 degrees F (5 degrees C)
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Cascading
    Clumping
    Columnar
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    When the oblong fruits ripen, they will split along 3 longitudinal lines, releasing flat, black, oval seeds. The wings on the seeds allow them to be wind dispersed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Trumpet
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Flowers vary greatly by variety. They can be large, open in form to pendulous.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Papery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Strap-shaped leaves appear after flowering. Varieties can range from plants having one leaf to 16 leaves. Some take on an arching form while another forms a spiral. The leaf width ranges from under an inch to 2.5".
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies