Rain Lilies After the Rain

rain lilies

Summer thunderstorms bring more than needed moisture and lowered temperatures. In our garden, the rain lilies put on a little show after the storm. Short tufts of grasslike foliage produce a number of colorful, lily like blooms. Colors vary from bubblegum pink through salmons and golds to yellows and whites. There are no bad colors in these little gems.

Properly called Zephyranthes, they make their first appearance in Alabama’s flatwoods, where they bloom white and tolerate flooding. Perfectly suited to the average garden, these Alabama natives give the largest and earliest (Easter) blooms of the Zephyranthes. Called Atamasco or Easter lilies (that term is antiquated), these wonderful bulbs are usually available in the Native Plant booth at the Birmingham Botanical Garden plant sale.

rain lilies

Blooming in the summer, the smaller rain lilies are the ones you will see in gardens today. These are somewhat harder to find. Mine came through the magic of the internet, where you can find them via online nurseries and even ebay. All are successful, but the white Zephyranthes alba is the quickest to multiply into substantial, divisible clumps. Most will set viable seed. All deserve a place in your garden.

Mike Rushing

Mike and Paula Rushing have been gardening in St. Clair county since 1990, and In Forest Park since 2007. A Jefferson County Master Gardener and course instructor at Master Gardening classes, Mike also volunteers weekly at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

2 thoughts on “Rain Lilies After the Rain

  1. Is not Nature grand? I discovered these natives while wandering through the woods one August. Not expecting to see any wildflowers, you can imagine my delight and surprise when I stumbled across a clump of these lovelies.
    You may also purchase these plants locally as Alabama Nursery has grown them for years. Good job as always.

    • I agree. The first time I saw them was in a pasture on the banks of the Alabama River when I was fishing with my dad many years ago. There were literally hundreds in bloom.

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