Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Schoolhouse lilies

Another new bloom in the garden this week is the oxblood lilies, aka schoolhouse lilies, so called because they bloom around the time that school starts in the fall. 

These are the two colors of oxbloods that I have in my garden. The traditional or true oxblood is the one in the center. The paler ones are a more recent innovation but very pretty I think.

Oxbloods are one of the most carefree plants we can grow in our gardens. I usually forget all about mine for most of the year until they pop out of the ground overnight in early September and burst into bloom. They are small plants, only about a foot tall at most, and with blooms only 2-3 inches long. In spite of their size, they can be showy, much like their relative the amaryllis, especially when planted in a drift.

My oxbloods are planted under a corkscrew willow tree, but they can be very attractive at the feet of evergreen shrubs or in a rock garden. I've seen them mixed beautifully with things like thyme, thrift, and dianthus. They thrive in full sun or in half shade and are not finicky about soil as long as it isn't soggy.

I am famous for my failures with bulb-growing but my oxbloods haven't heard of that reputation and so they just roll merrily along, surprising me every September with their happy little blossoms.


  1. These are soooo pretty!! Everything looks so horrid here. We can't seem to get a drop of rain. I love how you are growing under the willows and shrubs. Those are the best places that I even have a hope for a bloom. I'm going to be looking for some of these to enjoy next season xox

    1. They seem to be almost fool-proof plants and it is always such a wonderful surprise when they pop their heads up in September.

  2. Gorgeous, gorgeous blooms! Have you ever divided them?

    1. No, I've only had them for a couple of years and they haven't really developed to the point that I need to divide them.