Gloriosa superba 'Rothschildiana'
Common Name: gloriosa lily 
Type: Bulb
Family: Colchicaceae
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 5.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Bright red edged with yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy


Plant tubers horizontally 2-4” deep and 8-12” apart in an organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soil after last frost date. For earlier bloom, tubers may be started indoors in late winter and moved outside after last frost date. Best sited in locations with some afternoon shade. After bloom, dig, dry and store in a dry medium before first frost. Tubers are brittle and can be difficult to dig at the end of the growing season. Accordingly, many gardeners find it easiest to leave gloriosa tubers in pots or containers year-round: start indoors in late winter, sink entire pot to the rim into the ground after last frost date and dig up pot and remove to a frost free location after bloom for overwintering dry in the pot. Containers may also be placed on patios during growing season. As a houseplant, locate container in a bright sunny window, with watering tapered off after bloom to induce dormancy.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Gloriosa superba, commonly called gloriosa lily or climbing lily, is a tropical vine which grows to 6’. Climbs by tendrils at the leaf tips. Lily-like flowers with 6 showy petal-like segments of bright red edged with bright yellow. Blooms summer to fall.

Genus name comes from the Latin word gloriosus meaning glorious.

Specific epithet means superb.

'Rothschildiana' was named after Lionel Walter, 2nd. Baron Rothschild (1868 - 1937), who is credited with bringing the flower from Africa. When in bud, the flower faces downward but when in bloom, the petals are strongly reflexed backwards. The flowers are 4 to 5 in. wide with wavy-edged petals that are ruby red with yellow bases and edges and large, bright green stamens and pistils that spread out below the petals. It will quickly grow up a trellis using the tendrils formed at the tips of the leaves, growing from 5 to 6 ft. tall and 1 to 3 ft. wide. It may also be known as Gloriosa rothschildiana. All parts of this plant are poisonous.


No serious insect or disease problems. Can be difficult to grow well in St. Louis because these plants need moderate daytime temperatures (70s) and cool nights (60s) for best performance.


Good container plant for patios. Trellis. Houseplant.