About twenty species of deciduous bulbous plants, all originating in the American continent, belong to the genus zephytanthes. There are zephyranthes with spring, summer and autumn flowering, although in general it is preferred to cultivate summer or autumn flowering species in the gardens. In the places of origin they are called rain lilies, since generally during the cold or warm season they remain dormant, and as soon as the spring or autumn rains make their appearance zephyranthes they begin to produce leaves and flowers in abundance.
The foliage is similar to long arches of grass, slightly fleshy, dark green, gathered in thick tufts. From the foliage, for some weeks, stand long trumpet flowers, single, with six petals of white, pink, yellow or orange, often with a throat in a contrasting color. The flowers are followed by small fleshy capsules containing seeds. All species are medium or small, and generally do not exceed 20-30 cm in height; during the season of vegetative rest they lose the aerial part, and therefore the foliage completely dries up.
The plants of Zephyranthes are placed at home by burying the bulbs about half of their diameter, at a distance of about 15-20 cm from each other; it is advisable to choose a bright location, in direct sunlight or even in partial shade.
They are plants that do not fear even prolonged frosts, if of slight entity: to prevent the bulbs from being ruined by the cold it is advisable to mulch the ground with dry leaves, or straw, or to dig up the bulbs in dormancy, to place them at home at the end of winter.
As for water and watering, these plants can easily cope with drought, and it is advisable to avoid watering them excessively; Generally they are satisfied with the rains, presenting a period of complete vegetative rest during periods of drought. Always remember not to overdo the amount of water trying not to drown the plants and above all avoid leaving the soil drenched for several days. A prolonged humidity could in fact give rise to radical molds and other health problems at the level of the roots.
To cultivate the zephyranthes It is advisable to use a rich, soft and loose soil, possibly very well drained and slightly acid. Pot-grown bulbs should be dug up every year and planted in fresh, rich soil.
To allow more flowering, it is advisable to fertilize the plants once a month with potassium-rich products.
The multiplication of these bulbous plants can take place by seed, in spring, but it is also possible to detach the small bulbs that are naturally produced over the years, and plant them well spaced from the other bulbs. The bulbils, the smaller bulbs, usually grow around the main bulb.
Pests and diseases
In conditions of high humidity and poor ventilation, they are affected by the rot of the bulbs and sometimes by gray mold. However, these are plants that are not frequently affected by diseases and parasites.
Zephyranthes: Variety of Zephyrantes
There are different varieties of Zephyrantes that are used as ornaments.
Zephyrantes candida is a very beautiful bulbous plant that comes from South America and forms low bushes of 30 cm with narrow and elongated leaves. The flower of this species is very beautiful with white petals accompanied by very evident yellow-gold stamens.
It is a perfect plant for gardens, pots and flower beds, which needs to grow in a temperate environment and suffers a lot from night frosts. If we live in areas from the cold winter, let us remember to bring the plants of Zephyrantes Candida to a warm and bright area of the house, to prevent the winter cold from ruining our bulbs.