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Zephyranthes candida – Rain Lily

Rain lily is often a surprise in the garden. We plant the bulbs and move on to more pressing matters. As the season progresses, the plant emerges in the space where the greyhounds wander. It is tough. The leaves are a lovely dark green that exist fairly anonymously in the landscape, but they set off the flowers beautifully.

The flowers when they come are perfect.

rain lily
Rain lily – a.k.a. Zephyr lily, Fairy lily.

Related to Amaryllis, it only grows 6″-9″ or so tall, and it is hardy zones 7-11. Winter hardiness is borderline in zone 7, but don’t let that stop you…it is relatively inexpensive. Also known as Zephyr lily, magic lily, and fairy lily, you don’t see much of rain lily in other gardens, or in your own garden for that matter until it flowers.

Blooms are pure white with yellow stamens, and reminiscent of crocus. Rain lily garnered its name because of its reputation for coming into bloom after a prolonged rain. Maybe this is why I am never quite sure when it will bloom. Late July to September is the stated season, so perhaps I am perennially unprepared for such a gorgeous late addition to the garden.

Zephyranthes candida prefers bright light and moist, well-drained soil. Once planted it is generally trouble-free.

Rain Lily in the Garden

Rain lily is perfect tucked wherever visitors to the garden might wander. Rock gardens also make a good home. Plant it in groups; a single specimen is unlikely to make an impact in the landscape.

It also bears remembering that due to its small size and late bloom rain lily should not be planted where taller plants will shield it. If the more common view will be from a distance of twenty feet or more, then large clumps planted naturally are recommended.

An effective technique for planting bulbs is to toss them on the ground and plant them where they fall. The idea is to remove any suggestion a human being has been involved in the planting.

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