Natal lily is a flowering herbaceous plant that thrives on neglect. It’s a close relative of the amaryllis genus, and both plants are native to South Africa. One difference, Natal Lily makes rhizomes while amaryllis makes bulbs. Natal lily has the appearance of a bulb; however, it is a thickened stem base. Like many plants from that region, they thrive in Hawaii.
It naturally grows in the understory of damp forests, often in large mats. There, Natal lily enjoys cool winters and hot summers. It grows in a wide range of elevations from subtropical to high elevation forests.
The plant is a perfect combination of foliage and flowers. Strap-shaped leaves (oppositely arranged) arise from an underground stem. A flower stalk will begin to push up through the leaves in the late winter. Clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers appear in the Spring (and sporadically throughout the year). Colors range from yellow, orange, and red. Following flowers are red berries containing 1 to 4 seeds per fruit.
This plant is perfect for a shade garden as it thrives in low-light conditions. In Hawai’i, it is often grown as a ground cover. An easy to grow house plant, Natal lily thrives on neglect. It enjoys starving for nutrients and being root-bound. In a pot, It can go10 years before repotting. Besides that, it is long-lived. Heirloom plants are handed down through the generations.
Germination is by seed, vegetatively by separating rhizomes, or by root sucker.
- Container plant
- Cut flower
- Indoor plant
- Toxic to animals and humans
High Risk Traits:
- Able to grow in regions with subtropical climates
- Naturalized in New Zealand and possibly elsewhere
- All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and animals if ingested
- Reproduces by seeds and vegetatively by rhizomes and suckers
- Seeds dispersed by birds and intentionally by people
- Resprouts after fire and possibly cutting
Low Risk Traits:
- Despite naturalization, no negative impacts documented in introduced range
- Unarmed (no spines, thorns or burrs)
- Predominantly self-incompatible