Gloriosa superba, also known as flame lily, climbing lily or gloriosa lily, can easily be grown from seeds or tuber (rhizome). At Discovery Gardens in Pattaya and Nong Khai (Thailand) we show beautiful, but poisonous gloriosa superba (fire lily) mainly for decoration and offer seeds and tubers for sale.
The extremely beautiful flowers of gloriosa superba are the main reason to grow them in gardens around Thailand. I grew my first gloriosa lily from a tuber I bought in the market. I then split the rhizome in two and thus got two climbing plants. Be careful, the whole plant is poisonous and has to be handled with care – especially the tuber, but there are also medicinal uses of this plant.
The best time of the year to start growing a flame lily in Thailand is December to February, during the cool and dry season. If the gloriosa superba is exposed to too much water, it easily develops fungal diseases, the stem will then rot. But of course the freshly planted rhizome needs some water initially and over prolonged dry periods and it thrives in locations with full sun. In shady locations it will not develop flowers.
Since the gloriosa superba uses tendrils to climb up 2 or 3 meters high, it is best to provide a frame made of bamboo. When it starts flourishing it is well pollinated by insects in Thailand, so no artificial pollination is necessary.
The plant then starts to grow lengthy green pods filled with red seeds. When the pods of the gloriosa superba mature, they will turn brown, open up and release the seeds. We then cut off the seed pods and dry the seeds.
Fire lily seeds can be planted any time of the year in Thailand in an area well drained. The pots in which you plant the seeds should be exposed to the sun and well watered, but not soaked.
After your first gloriosa superba plants grown from seeds have flourished, you can dig the rhizomes out and store them in a dry place until you plant them again. At Discovery Garden Pattaya we show the beautiful, but poisonous fire lily almost all year around and seeds and tubers are normally available too.