Flower names can be confusing. For instance, consider the African blood lily, which is more complicated than it seems for several reasons. First, it isn’t a member of the lily family. Instead, it is a member of the amaryllis family. Consequently, the African blood lily is one of several flowers called lilies without being lilies. Second, the name “African blood lily” can refer to at least two of the nine species in the genus Scadoxus.
One is Scadoxus multiflorus while the other is Scadoxus puniceus. Third, it is very easy to mistake the genus Scadoxus for the genus Haemanthus and vice versa because the two are close relatives. At one point, Scadoxus multiflorus was Haemanthus multiflorus while Scadoxus puniceus was Haemanthus puniceus. Under these circumstances, people need to know exactly which species is being referred to when they hear the name “African blood lily.” The two species are similar but the two species are not the same.
In any case, Scadoxus multiflorus is native to both Arabia and much of Sub-Saharan Africa. From there, it has become naturalized in Mexico, the Chagos Islands, and the Indian subcontinent. Scadoxus multiflorus is grown because of its gorgeous appearance, which comes from its globe-shaped umbel of bright red flowers. Meanwhile, Scadoxus puniceus is also native to much of Sub-Saharan Africa. It too is grown for its gorgeous appearance, though in its case, that comes from an umbel of bright red flowers that resembles nothing so much as the head of a paintbrush. Be warned that both species have cultivars. Moreover, Scadoxus multiflorus even has subspecies.
How Can You Take Care of Scadoxus Multiflorus?
The Spruce says that Scadoxus multiflorus is easy to take care of. That should come as welcome news for those who are thinking about adding it to their garden. Please note that Scadoxus multiflorus needs to be planted in U.S. hardiness zones 9 to 11, which are in its Deep South and its southern coastal margins for the most part. Something that should come as no surprise considering that it is native to Sub-Saharan Africa. Moisture is also an important consideration. Outdoors, the plant needs medium to high moisture. Indoors, the plant can benefit from misting while being placed somewhere far from drafty areas. Light-wise, Scadoxus multiflorus won’t fare well when exposed to intense sunlight. Instead, it prefers partial sunlight.
One solution would be planting it in a place that provides it with about four to six hours of daily sunlight. Another solution would be planting it in a place that isn’t exposed to the full force of the sun but is nonetheless well-lit. When it comes to soil, Scadoxus multiflorus wants either sandy soil or loamy soil because both of those offer good drainage. The species grows best when its soil is moist but no more than that. Any sogginess around its roots is another good way to cause serious problems. As for watering, that can be a bit more complicated. If the plant is in the process of growing, it should be consistently watered so that its soil remains somewhat moist. In contrast, if the plant is in the process of going dormant, it should only be watered to prevent the plant from completely drying out.
Fertilizing African Blood Lillies
Otherwise, leave it alone until it is ready to grow once more. Similarly, the plant benefits from receiving a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus every other week during the growing season. However, stop fertilizing when it enters into dormancy because there is no point in the process. There are some other things that people might want to keep in mind. For instance, Scadoxus multiflorus produces berries in the fall. These berries contain seeds, which grow more of these plants. If people want to do so, they should put the seeds on top of moist soil.
Over time, those seeds produce bulbs, which sprout in moist soil. Once that happens, people should be able to care for them in much the same way as other examples of the species. Another thing that people should keep in mind is that these plants will do their best when they remain undisturbed. As it pertains to repotting, be very careful to avoid disturbing their root systems. Indeed, people might want to grow these plants in pots if they need to be concerned about the effects of winter. That way, they can just bring the pots indoors before colder temperatures arrive, which is critical because these plants cannot handle the cold.
How Can You Take Care of Scadoxus Puniceus?
As mentioned earlier, Scadoxus puniceus is similar to Scadoxus multiflorus but not the same. Thanks to this, Gardening Know How says that there are some important differences in how it is supposed to be treated. First, this plant is still most suitable for hotter climates. However, it has a broader range in the sense that it grows in U.S. hardiness zones 9 to 12. Second, it has increased tolerance to sunlight. Due to this, it can thrive in both partial sunlight and full sunlight, with the latter tending to mean more than six hours of daily sunlight. Third, the watering needs of the two species are very similar. Scadoxus puniceus wants soil that is moist but never soggy throughout its growing season. By late summer, people cut down on its watering.
When the plant goes dormant, they should stop watering altogether before resuming once it starts growing again. Naturally, this means that this plant also benefits from rich, well-drained soil. Interested individuals should keep in mind a couple of things that these two plants have in common. First, if they are growing them in a climate that sees frost, they should take some extra steps to protect these plants. These steps consist of digging up the bulbs, packing the bulbs in peat moss, storing the bulbs in a dry, warm place, and then replanting the bulbs once the danger of frost has completely passed. Second, people should be extra-careful with these plants if they have either pets or small children. Like other species in the genus Scadoxus, these plants are somewhat toxic. As a result, eating them can lead to nausea, gastrointestinal distress, and other unpleasant symptoms.