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Sprekelia

Phonetic Spelling
sprek-EL-ee-uh
Description

Sprekelia, or Aztec Lily, is a herbaceous perennial bulb and is one of just three known species of the genus in the Amaryllis family, and its flowers closely resemble that popular house plant. Sprekelia plants often include lily in their common name, although they are not true lilies. Sprekelia formosissima is the species usually grown for its showy flowers – and even it is not very common, especially in colder climates. This tender bulb, native to southern Mexico and Guatemala, is hardy only to zone 8 and higher. Aztec Lily is often planted outside in warm climates or raised in pots in colder climates. They can also be planted outside in well-drained soil for the summer season then lifted and used as a house plant much like the gladiolus.

Flower color is typically scarlet to deep crimson, but there are some pink selections, a white cultivar, and others that have lighter colored midribs or white edges on the red tepals. Unfortunately the flowers only last for a few days, then quickly shrivel. The long, dark-green, strap-like leaves emerge in spring about the same time as or before the flowers. They may bloom at other times of the year if grown in containers as a houseplant or in a greenhouse. If grown as a seasonal plant, they will bloom later, often several weeks after planting out.

Sprekelia are usually grown from bulbs in well-drained soil and are mulched or taken in for the winter. The bulbs can be harvested, then stored in peat or vermiculite at 41 to 55 degrees F. However, this plant resents being disturbed, and may not flower for several years after being dug or divided. Note that the bulbs are classified as Tender III and can be injured at temperatures below 25 degrees F. Once ready for planting in the spring, they should be planted at a depth of 2 inches and spaced 12 to 16 inches apart. Several leaves are produced from each bulb, growing in an upright rosette at first, then flopping over as they get longer. The bulbs may be up to 2 inches in diameter. However, even when well grown, bulbs often do not bloom every year.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Problems:

Aztec lily has few pests, but may become infested with mealybugs, which hide in the crevices where the leaves emerge from the bulb.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Oriental Red
  • Peru
  • S. formosissima
  • Superba
Oriental Red , Peru , S. formosissima, Superba
Tags:
#showy flowers#dramatic#summer bulbs#flowering houseplant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Oriental Red
  • Peru
  • S. formosissima
  • Superba
Oriental Red , Peru , S. formosissima, Superba
Tags:
#showy flowers#dramatic#summer bulbs#flowering houseplant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Sprekelia
    Family:
    Amaryllidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico and Central America
    Bulb Storage:
    stored in peat or vermiculite at 41 to 55 degrees F
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Brilliant red flowers up to 6 inches across are borne singly on the end of sturdy, hollow, cylindrical scapes about a foot long. Each flower is bilaterally symmetrical with six long tepals, with the broader, central upper one upright, two narrow lateral ones that are curved back at the tips and three lower narrow deflexed ones partly fused together, rolling up in a horizontal cylinder, encircling the long filaments of the stamens and large anthers with yellow pollen.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Fronds
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The long, dark-green, strap-like leaves emerge in spring about the same time as or before the flowers. In their native habitat this is typically just after the first rains. Several leaves are produced from each bulb, growing in an upright rosette at first, then flopping over as they get longer.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Houseplants
    Design Feature:
    Accent