Schoolhouse lilies make an appearance when school reconvenes

Published on Wednesday, 27 September 2017 15:15 - Written by ANNE PATTULLO, Smith County Master Gardeners

Not all bulbs are spring and summer bloomers.

The deep red oxblood lily (Rhodophiala bifida), also known as the schoolhouse lily, begins blooming in late August and sometimes lasts through October. It generally takes some fall rains following a summer drought for the blooming to begin.

The 6- to 8-inch-tall flowers shoot up without leaves, which will follow the blooms during the winter months. The oxblood lily is one of the most vigorous and adaptable of our East Texas bulbs. They don’t care what kind of soil they’re planted in and will dig themselves deep into the ground, assuring longevity and the ability to multiply into good-sized clumps.

It is best to plant them out of direct sun, as their blooms will last longer if given a bit of shade. They rarely seed out, but rather multiply from offsets of the mother bulb.

At the Oct. 14 Smith County Master Gardener sale, From Bulbs to Blooms, we will have a large supply of these deep crimson beauties as well as a limited number of a pink strain for the serious bulb collector. Come to Harvey Convention Center in Tyler to hear our Smith County horticulturist and Southern bulb expert Greg Grant tell about the characteristics, care and landscape use of these and many other bulbs for East Texas.