School house, or oxblood, lilies finally make appearance

Published on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 21:01 - Written by By Dee Bishop In Our Garden

Did you think they forgot to show up?

I don’t blame them one bit; I wouldn’t show up either if it was 100 degrees and as dry as the Sahara. Those of you who are able to water enough probably saw your oxblood lilies a couple of weeks ago. The rest of us had to wait until a good rain and decent temperatures.

These little fellows are happily growing in the Heritage Garden as well as the IDEA Garden. They look just like tiny amaryllis blooms, and of course we will have some for sale at our annual fall Bulbs and More sale.

Usually Rodophilala bifida, better known by all us gardeners as school house lily or oxblood lily, is an old pass-along bulb that came into Texas with German immigrants who settled in the Texas Hill Country in the mid 1800s. They did well, multiplied quickly and were given and traded up into our own 21st century.

Although these bulbs grow easily (needing only decent soil, sun and good drainage) and multiply quickly, they are very expensive to buy. Reason — we can’t find sources for them.

Our grower said Florida had a crop failure, and other areas had failures. So look for high prices, but grab a few, and know that you will have your own from now on.