Gloriosa Lily

Gloriosa is a tuberous plant more commonly known as a “Climbing Lily” or “Flame Lily” and they are best suited as houseplants in anything colder than a zone 8 or 9. This vine produces a weak stem that grows tendrils to help it support itself on trellis or netting.


All parts of this plant are toxic if eaten.

Available Species

Gloriosa rothschildiana is one of the most attractive in the family reaching 4-6 feet tall. The flowers have crimson-colored wavy petals that are edged with bright yellw making them stand out against the glossy green foliage.

Gloriosa simplex throws a mass of orange and yellow flowers that have a light greenish tone to them. The vines reaches approximately 3-feet tall

Gloriosa superba var. Lutea has clear yellow flowers with narrow petals and is a showy plant in full bloom.


Flame lilies are considered hardy between USDA zones 7 to 10 or maybe 8-10 in a cold year. Preferred night temperatures shouldn’t go below 60F at any time but they will live (while growing) through a 50F night (but get set back in growth and flowering).

Growing Gloriosa Outdoors

This plant loves an organic soil, rich in organic matter but one that drains well and quickly (no standing water!) It wants full light to very light shade.

Plant the tubers approximately 2-3 inches deep and place them horizontally in the holes.

Water and use compost. You can also feed them with a fish emulsion or compost tea regularly through the summer.

For earlier flowers, start the tuber indoors in a pot approximately 6-weeks before planting outdoors. You can normally fit 3 tubers in an 8-inch pot (sometimes they will be too big for 3).

Prune back to the ground in the fall after the vines have wilted and dried.

Winter storage should be dry and not wet (hence no clay soils)

Pruning and Growing Tips Indoors

Start the tuber as above – planting 2 inches deep in the pot in a good quality indoor potting soil.

Grow this plant in as much sunlight as you can because as you increase the shade, you decrease the flowering. Put it outside on a patio for the summer or sunny sunporch for best results.

Never prune a gloriosa If you do, you’ll take off the flower buds. That was easy.

The plant will flower for a very long time and then eventually the bud production will stop and it will have flowered out.

7-8 weeks after it has finished flowering, start holding back on the watering and gradually allow the plant to dry down. This watering drydown phase should last a month or so.

The vines will dry up. Remove them from the trellis and discard.

Store dry until the following February. The Gloriosa tuber can either be left in the pot or taken out and stored warm and dry.

In the spring, start watering again and train the new shoots back onto the trellis.

Seeds and Propagation

You’ll find that the plant throws “offsets” and these can be removed and repotted. The tubers may also be cut up just before repotting. The trick here is to ensure that each division has an “eye” (like a potato eye).

Do not dig up the tuber or divide it unless the foliage is fully dried up and the tuber is dormant.

This plant produces a seed (a pod of round pea-like seeds) in the fall. Keep the seeds dry for the winter. Sow in early March at a soil temperature of 70F. It is useless to try to grow this plant if the soil isn’t warm.

The seeds should take 4-5 months to germinate. Grow them on in the same container (only sow 3 seeds to a 4-inch pot) in sunny conditions with good houseplant food until they go dormant in the fall.

Lift the tubers and separate them. Grow as above in containers or the garden. They should produce flowers in year 3 if fed and treated properly.

Cut Flowers

The gloriosa flower is a spectacular wavy-edged petal (reflexed like a purple leaf cone flower – pointing backward). They will last about a week in an arrangement if you split the end of the flower stem before inserting it in the vase filled with water.

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