The Jacobean Lily
Also known as the Aztec Lily, Sprekelia formosissima are bulbs originating from Central America, commonly referred to as the ‘Jacobean Lily’.
Sometimes seen as unusual, the ‘Jacobean Lily’ has in fact been in cultivation for many years. Commonly found in older gardens and easy to grow in containers.
Essentially a ‘no care’ or ‘easy care’ plant once planted they can be left for many years. These are an spring to early summer flowering bulb and add brilliant colour at this time of the year. The foliage is green and lance shaped and the plant will reach around 40 – 45cm in height.
You will find bulbs for sale during dormancy at around $3 each depending on size.
This particular species has been cultivated since Jacobean times, hence the name, and was widely grown as an indoor plant. Also known as the St James Lily, it is said to resemble the insignia of the ‘Knight of St James’.
Sprekelia formosissima care
Easy to grow and with attractive red flowers, Sprekelia formosissima make a great display. Best planted in a group, as for some reason some bulbs do not seem to flower every year. They do need a cool winter and some water during the growing period to encourage flowering.
Planting Jacobean Lilies
Best grown in pots in areas with wet winters as these are a plant that requires a dry dormancy.
You can’t easily grow them indoors and flower them, you can bring them indoors once the flowers begin to open.
- Plant in pots or in the garden in winter
- Choose a well drained soil in a position that receives part shade or afternoon shade.
- A humus rich soil with well rotted manure or compost dug in is best.
- Bulbs should be planted with the necks of the bulb itself above the ground.
- Water in and leave until spring.
- Top dress with some potash in spring to improve flowering
- Bulbs will flower from mid spring to summer.
- After flowering top dress with a little cow manure and blood and bone to promote growth.
- Water regularly through summer
The bulbs can be left in the ground or lifted after the foliage dies back (in early winter)
Once established these are a drought tolerant bulb. We very rarely water them in the garden, however in pots you do need to make sure that the soil does not dry to the point of desiccation.
Planting Distance and Dividing
- Sprekelia formosissima grow well in containers and can be planted around 6cm apart.
- In the garden give them a little more room 10 – 15 cm.
- Leave undisturbed for a few years, however they will become crowded and will need to divided eventually.
Sprekelia glauca and Sprekelia howardii are two of the rarer species.
Sprekelia Bulbs are available for sale form the following nurseries
'Sylvan Vale' 375 Olinda Creek Rd, Kalorama, VIC.3766
Including a large range of Rare and unusual bulbs, corms and perennials
470 Monbulk-Silvan Road Monbulk VIC 3793
"Guaranteed mail order flowering bulbs, perennials, roses, trees, landscaping plants, garden accessories and community fundraising Austra lia-wide."