Scadoxus multiflorus
Common Name: African blood lily 
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Native Range: Africa, Arabian Peninsula
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11 where plants may be grown directly in the ground in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants need consistent and even moisture with sharp drainage during the growing season. Reduce moisture in winter season. In St. Louis, plants must be overwintered indoors. Bulbs may be planted outdoors directly in the garden in spring after last frost date, but the bulbs must be dug prior to first frost in fall, brought indoors, packed in peat and overwintered in a dry cool area where temperatures run 50-60 F. Plants reportedly perform best when root-bound and generally dislike root disturbance, and for this reason bulbs are often grown in containers regardless of climate. In St. Louis, the containers may be grown on patios or may be sunk to the rim in soil. Reduce watering in late summer and then bring the containers indoors in fall prior to first frost for overwintering in a cool, dry place.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Scadoxus multiflorus, commonly called blood lily, is a bulbous perennial that is native to tropical and sub-tropical parts of South Africa. It is a member of the Amaryllis family. Common name reportedly comes from the red (blood-like) stains on its flattened white bulbs. Each bulb produces 6-7 bright green leaves (to 12-15” long) and one flower head per season. Leaves of Scadoxus are spirally arranged in comparison to the leaves of Haemanthus which are two-ranked. The flower head is a spherical, soft-ball-sized terminal umbel (4-6” diameter) with hundreds of tiny, densely-packed, red florets with yellow tipped stamens. Each flower head appears in late spring on a succulent stem to 1-2’ tall. Flowers are followed by tiny orange-scarlet berries. Leaves remain attractive during the growing season.

Formerly know as Haemanthus multiflorus. Scadoxus multiflorus subsp. katherinae (formerly Haemanthus katherinae) is a taller plant with wavy-edged leaves and somewhat larger flower heads.

Genus name comes from the Greek words skiadion meaning parasol or umbel and doxa meaning glory.

Specific epithet means many-flowered.

Other common names include pincushion flower and cape tulip.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for slugs and snails. Bulbs contain toxic alkaloids.

Garden Uses

Container plant for patios, decks and gardens. Also may be grown as a houseplant.