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Gloriosa superba 'Rothschildiana'

I grew this plant for the first time this past spring and fell in love with them because of the unusually shaped flowers and the plant's climbing habit. It was a big conversation piece in my garden and as was the case with anything I really loved this spring it was subject to theft and damage from the neighbor's foul balls that landed in the garden. Some people grow this plant as a houseplant and after growing it in the garden I can understand the allure.

If I remember correctly I paid about 12 dollars for three tubers that were about 3 1/2 inches long. Each of the tubers formed two offsets but the odd thing was that the tubers that I planted in the ground produced offsets much larger than the two that were potted up. The reason the difference surprised me is because they all treated the same the only difference is that the tubers in the ground were in really poor soil. Since the tubers were planted in bagged potting soil I would have expected them to be the ones to produce the bigger offsets. The smallest tuber in the photo is 3 1/2 inches long just to give you an idea of the size difference. I just noticed today that my tubers are starting to break dormancy so I may pot them up or move them to a cooler area to slow them down.

When buying dormant tubers purchase only the tubers that have a green eye. Be careful when digging them up because they damage easy. The flowers last when cut and I observed that the seed pods can ripen in water if they're knocked off. They're slow growing from seed but can be propagated that way. I easily pollinated my flowers using a small artist paintbrush. The seed pod swells and when it dries it starts to split at the bottom and reveals the red seeds. All parts of the plant contain a toxic called Colchicine- so take precautions.

This plant is native to South Africa and it has a few common names; Climbing Lily, Gloriosa Lily, Flame of the woods and Flame Lily. You can see a picture of the unique flower on Wikipedia. I'd add one to this post but I didn't get a chance to take a picture of any of my blooms.


  1. I have a Gloriosa which I bought as a plant in flower. However it is now August (in the UK though so not very hot) and it has died off!
    Is this right or have I killed it? Also once it flowers does it keep re-flowering or do the blooms only grow once?
    Any help would be much appreciated!

  2. Hi Kellie,

    Your Gloriosa is probably not dead. If the stalk and flowers have turned brow and withered you can lift the tuber(like the one in the picture above) and store if over the winter indoors in a cool dry area.

    In the spring just replant the tuber in soil and start it over. Your plant most likely has just done dormant for the winter.

  3. Hi mr brownthumb

    I live in Portugal.
    My husband has bought me two already well grown plants for my birthday. They are already in bloom.
    However the new buds are drying off (a problems I sometime have with orchids!)
    Do you have any tips on how to look after this wonderful plant?

    Siobhán Willy-Furth

  4. Anonymous2:39 PM

    Love your climbing lily! I have one in my solarium, and it reached the ceiling today. No blossoms yet. Last year I grew it outside and slugs ate it up, and it grew only 2 feet tall and didn't bloom. It loves the indoor solarium. Will it continue to grow sideways across the ceiling, or will touching the ceiling cause it to die? I'm in Zone 5, and it's still in the mid-30s at night, so I don't think I can move it outside yet. Help!

  5. Siobhan,

    Sorry for the late reply. It could be they are dying off because they went into shock. If it was blooming it was "happy" where it was and moving it to a new location caused it some stress.


    It shouldn't die from touching the solarium.

  6. Anonymous7:32 PM

    I have my climbing lily growing indoors all the time and now it apparently went dormant for the winter. Should I just leave in the pot for the winter without watering or should I better take it out of the pot and store it somewhere else indoors?




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