Fire Lily Plants: How To Grow And Care For The Cyrtanthus

The Fire Lily, or the Cyrtanthus brachyscyphus belongs to a group of illustrious bulb plants numbering across different plant species.

This Amaryllis family member can be found primarily in South Africa, among its many other bulb cousins. It has common names of clivia miniata, fireball lily, orange lily, flame lily or tiger lily.


Perhaps the most striking characteristic of the Fire Lily is its namesake, coupled with a natural determination to bloom in year after year, as long as it is properly cared for.

Fire Lily can grow anywhere from 20 to 60 cm long or in height, depending on which species it comes from. All are of the same bulbed variety, and all of them have sword-shaped leaves.

The curious-shaped leaves grow straight from the bulb, twisting a little bit as they spiral into the air above.

The bulb size also varies from anywhere between one-half, up to 5″ inches diameter, with their tips growing above soil surface.

Fire Lilies exhibit marvelous wreaths of tubular, trumpet-shaped flowers sprouting off each flower stem’s end.

The stems of the plants are much like the leaves in that they slightly twist as they grow outward.

The most popular color is blood red (hence the namesake blood lily), but the nice-smelling fire lilies can also come in shades of white, orange, and yellow with pale hues of green at the end.

The Fire lily flowers hang from the stem’s top much like a parasol does; a stem can have a set of wreath consisting of about 12 blooms each.

The Cyrtanthus mackenii or the ifafa lily variety commonly has pure white flowers that have a pleasant scent. The Cyrtanthus mackenii cooperi variety commonly shows up with yellow flowers, which blooms in spring for a longer time.

Incidentally, they are also easier to maintain than most. The Cyrtanthus ochroleucus, a close relative to the Cyrtanthus mackenzii, produces blooms as early as February. Cyrtanthus elatus also called vallota speciosa or scarborough lily plant blooms in late summer or early fall.

Cyrtanthus angustfolius goes full bloom during May; Cyrtanthus obliquus grows either red, red and green or yellowish-green flowers from March to August.

On the other hand, Cyrtanthus falcatus buds during mid-spring. Finally, Cyrthantus sanguineus blooms at the end of summer, producing blood-red, fiery flowers for all to see.

Fire Lily Plant Care

Fire Lilies require plenty of sunlight, mainly because they primarily grow during the summer season. These plants have USDA hardiness zones of 10-11.

The optimal temperature should be kept at somewhere around 65° to 75° degrees Fahrenheit during summer and shouldn’t go below 50° degrees Fahrenheit in winter.

Provide plenty of water and plant food during periods of growth, and the opposite during its rest during the colder months but don’t allow the soil to be completely dry.

The smaller fire bulbs should be encouraged to grow even in the onset of winter, but don’t overdo it. Feed small amounts of water which slow down in frequency until the next season comes.

Put your Fire Lily on a well-drained soil in an adequately-sized pot. Add some pot shards at the bottom of the pot to encourage fast draining.

Remember to repot your Clivia Miniata with fresh, rich potting soil and sand come end of winter to encourage growth.

All in all, the Fire plants isn’t that hard a plant to maintain, as long as you keep up with its growing demands during summer time.

Plenty of water and plant food should keep it happy, reciprocating you with fresh, fragrant lily flowers that will liven up any part of your house.

The drainage is there to stave the water away from the sensitive bulb. This friendly house plant do better when around other house plants.

They are better suited to living in a contained greenhouse or in the living room, where there’s plenty of company and sunshine.

Fire Lily Maintenance and Propagation

Different species of Fire Lilies require a different approach. The smaller types of Fire Lilies naturally produce small bulbs, and therefore will need a little more attention and care than most.

During the rest period, cut back on feeding and watering to allow breathing space. The taller varieties should be completely rested in winter, so cut on water until the leaves wither away. Remove the leaves and withered stems as necessary.

Summer and early spring is the Gloriosa Lily’s most vigorous and active time period, so you’ll need to maintain their water consumption well.

Provide plenty of water to your Fire Lily, but don’t keep the soil overly soggy and wet.

Constantly check for optimal drainage and see if there’s anything blocking the water from coming out the drain.

It’s a good idea to add a diet of weak water-soluble fertilizer solution once in every 2 weeks, adding more if the plant doesn’t respond.

The small bulbs that grow out of the main bulb can be separated and propagated in pots with rich potting soil and sand.

The smaller varieties of Fire Lilies should be carefully kept in check, while allowing the larger ones to die back.

Bring them to life and to full bloom once winter ends and the February months start.

Be mindful and check your Fire Lilies for brown spots occurring on the leaves; this usually means that they are exposed to strong sunlight more than what’s required.

While misting, check for drops that form on the leaves and remove them by brushing them off gently. These drops can act as a harmful magnifying glass when exposed to the sun’s rays.

A Fire Lily’s slow growth can be caused by inadequate feeding or when the room temperature isn’t hot enough for them.

During the summer, the optimal temperature for Clivia Miniata is no less than 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The presence of pale, unhealthy-looking leaves means that they aren’t getting enough water.

While Fire Lillies can grow surprisingly fast, the absence of flowers mean there’s something wrong with either the fertilizer or the temperature.

Don’t overfeed your Fire Lilly with an abundance of nitrogen-based fertilizer during winter. Also, don’t allow for winter temperature to drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

You may shop around for good Fire Lily bulbs on shops that feature them in full bloom. They can also be bought in reputable nurseries or on regular or mail-order companies.

Once you have a healthy one in your home, you may start propagating them by putting offset bulbs in their own pots.

Caring for a Fire Lily can bring great joy to its owners due to its easy demands and a surprisingly cheerful wreath of flowers come summertime!

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