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Scadoxus puniceus

Family: Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis family)

Common names: Paintbrush, Blood Lily (E); isiPhompo (Z); Rooikwas (A);

Native to: Southern Africa
Bulb

Scadoxus puniceus

DECIDUOUS

SEMI-SHADE

FROST HARDY

MEDIUM WATER REQUIREMENTS

FAST GROWER

ATTRACTS BIRDS

ATTRACTS INSECTS

FLOWER COLOUR:

AVERAGE SIZE:

0.5m x 0.3m
FLOWERING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D
FRUITING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Scadoxus puniceus

DESCRIPTION

A robust, deciduous perennial which bears a fluffy, scarlet, brush-like flower head (up to 15cm in diameter).  It has a strap-shaped leaves which grow in a cluster to form a false stem. The flowers are followed by attractive fleshy red berries.

 

NATURAL HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION
Forests and bushveld, amongst rocks and at the base of a tree.
WILDLIFE & ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS
The nectar-rich lowers attract birds and insects.
WATER REQUIREMENTS
Water moderately in summer.
MAINTENANCE
Keep well composted or add leaf litter to mimic a forest environment where this plant is naturally found.
LANDSCAPING USES
Grow clumps of this plant to create an attractive addition to a mixed border under trees. It can also be grown in containers.
GARDEN THEMES
Bushveld, Forest
FOLIAGE
The leaves are slightly leathery, mid-green and strap-shaped with dark purple spots.
FRUIT
The plant produces a cluster of showy, bright red berries in October and November.
PESTS & DISEASES
As with other plants of the Amaryllis family, this plant may be attacked by the Amaryllis Lily Borer. Watch out for this and treat accordingly. Moles often feed on the bulbs, so protect them by encircling the bulbs with rocks placed underground.
CULTIVATION
Easily propagated from seed. Harvest the seeds when they are red and ripe. Clean off the fleshy seed coating. Germination takes 2-3 weeks. Plants will start flowering in 3-4 years.

14 Responses

  1. Hi Deborah

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    You can safely plant it in the ground at the beginning of spring when the cold spells are past and unlikely to cause any damage.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  2. I’m in South Louisiana in a tropical climate. We rarely get very cold weather but this year we did get a hard freeze. My Lilly that I’ve have in a pot for about 3 years suddenly decided to make its first bloom just days before the freeze in mid February. I brought it inside & it’s doing great but I really want to put it in the ground & Im not sure when to do that.

  3. Hi Mike

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Scadoxus puniceus usually starts dying back from March/April. The leaves turn yellow and disappear completely. There is no need to lift the bulbs, but avoid any soil disturbance to the area.

    As Scadoxus puniceus is quite hardy to a variety of conditions, your young plants may just be going dormant earlier. I don’t think a fungicide treatment is necessary, to you could stop that to allow them to harden off.

    Unfortunately gardening is all about patience and you’ll have to wait until next spring to see whether your plants recover.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  4. I absolutely love these! I planted a few bulbs my garden for the first time last year, and to my delight, all of them sprouted in the springtime! Although only one flowered, they all developed into healthy plants with beautiful foliage.

    I have a question, though: as a newbie to growing these beauties, when do they typically die back and what do they look like when they die back? I ask because I’ve noticed that some of the leaves are already turning yellow quite rapidly, a few are browning at the tips, and a couple of the plants are looking a little droopy. Is it normal for them to be dying back in January (I stay in Johannesburg), and are the signs I’ve mentioned typical of die back for this plant? A few online resources mention that it’s normal for the plants to die back in autumn, but it seems a bit early for this.

    Or, could this seemingly rapid decline be caused by something else (e.g. root rot or another fungal disease from heavy rains we’ve had this summer)? I have mine planted in dappled shade in soil that I’ve amended to aid drainage and increase organic matter. I also spray my plants with an organic fungicide once a week, and so far, they have been doing well. Is the decline at this time normal? I’m hoping it’s nothing more than their natural cycle taking place – I would be so sad to lose these beauties to disease after just one year and after they’ve been doing so well.

    I would be hugely grateful for any feedback or advice, hopefully just to tell me that I’m being a paranoid plant parent. 😉

    Keep up the great work on this site – I’ve been very inspired to plant many of the indigenous beauties that I’ve read about here in recent months. Thank you, and wishing you a wonderful week!

  5. Hi Elizabeth

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Scadoxus puniceus flowers from the 5th year. They require a dry winter to allow the bulb to go dormant otherwise they may not to flower. They do best in a semi-shade position, particularly within 1m of a tree trunk. Avoid disturbing the soil around the bulb and remember to apply compost and mulch to the soil around your plant. Hopefully you’ll get some blossoms next season.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  6. Hi Liz

    Thanks for your advice.

    The red markings on the flower and leaf stalk of plants are usually an indicator of their toxic properties.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  7. Clean of the fleshy seed coating and plant about 1 cm deep.They will germinate and put a root BUT will only push their first leaf the following Spring.The seeds must be planted fresh off the plant as they will start germinating as soon as they drop off the plant.

  8. Hi Jeanette

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Your seeds may have been eaten. It is a better idea to plant them near the parent plants where the growing conditions are clearly suitable and the seedlings will get protection from the mature plants.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  9. Late year I have planted 40 of these seeds (reaped from the plants in my garden) in bags and didn’t get any plants from them. The bags didn’t even contain a trace of the bulb when I turned them out. Would it be a better idea to plant the seeds next to the plants in my garden where they they have been flourishing for the past three years?

  10. Hi Wayne

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    It’s wonderful to know that our South African plants are so adaptable to exotic locations and able to provide joy to ardent gardeners like yourself.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

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