Rain Lily

Zephyranthes & Habranthus spp.

The magical rain lily brings a sweet surprise after rainfall - beautiful flowers! Plus it's a super easy-care plant for South Florida gardens.

pink rain lily flowers

These sweet little plants will appear nondescript, with grassy evergreen foliage similar to liriope, when suddenly out of nowhere their enchanting flowers pop up above the leaves.

Flower colors are usually pink, yellow or white - but newer hybrids are now available in other shades and even patterns.

The flowers don't last long - each one may live only a day or so - but if you've grouped these plants, more blooms will take the place of the ones that are spent

This is a wonderful plant to grow with your young children - the rain falls and a day or so later - suddenly - flowers!

It's also supremely low maintenance. Nothing beyond planting is required of you - though they may die back during drought conditions, they often reappear as soon as rains begin to fall.

You can use rain lilies in lots of different ways, but in a natural setting as a mass planting is the most showy. When all the bulbs go into flower, it transforms the landscape into an enchanted fairyland.

Best flowering occurs from rainfall - a nice plus to our rainy season - but they will also blossom from irrigation, though not as much.

The bulbs themselves contain toxins - probably no worries for children and pets unless they dig up and ingest the bulbs. The plants are said to be deer resistant, though we make no guarantees.

a small bed of lilies in bloom

Plant specs

These plants are small flowering bulbs that will gradually multiply. They won't take over your landscape, though, so you can generally expect them to just flush out over time.

Most rain lily varieties only grow to a height of 6" to 12" overall. They like full sun to partial shade.

They do best in Zone 10, with foliage year round, though in Zone 9 they will die back during a cold winter and then come back in spring.

Plant care

Though not necessary, you can add top soil or organic peat moss to the area before planting. Add mulch to the bed after you plant - a light layer should do it.

You don't even have to water rain lilies (though they'll look better if you do) during dry spells. If they don't get watered, they may die back but generally come back as soon as we get regular rains.

No trimming is necessary. Ditto for fertilizer, though you can if you're feeding plants around them.

The bulbs will colonize over time - you can divide them if you want, but they're happiest and flower most when left undisturbed.

pink flowers

Plant spacing

Place bulbs about an inch deep and 3" to 4" apart.

Plant in a line if you're doing a narrow bed along a walk, but if the idea is a nature-did-it look, such as under a tree, place bulbs in a more random pattern.

These plants work fine in a container - especially if you can leave it outdoors to catch the rain.

Landscape uses for rain lily

  • naturalized under a tree (as long as they get some sun)
  • along a walkway
  • amid landscape boulders
  • front of the border
  • by a gate
  • lining a low deck or porch
  • around the base of a palm

A.K.A. (also known as): Rainflower, Fairy Lily, Zephyr Lily

GOOD SNOWBIRD PLANT? MAYBE - if you're here during warm weather

COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Pinwheel jasmine, Indian hawthorne, adonidia palm, azalea, and firespike.

Other plants you might like: Amaryllis, Ground Orchid

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