Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chinese Lantern Lily, Christmas Bells
Sandersonia aurantiaca

Family: Liliaceae (lil-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sandersonia (san-der-SON-ee-a) (Info)
Species: aurantiaca (aw-ran-ti-AYE-kuh) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

12 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 16 photos.
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5 positives
5 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive catgrass09 On Jul 30, 2011, catgrass09 from Columbus, OH wrote:

Fairly easy to grow bulb. I grew mine outdoors in pots in potting soil with some additional sand for drainage. 100% germination and bloom success. The flower and the leggy bulb shape is wonderfully unusual. As this was the first time growing them, I took copious notes. Each bulb ranged about 8-12 grams in weight. As soon as I received them in the mail (June), I laid them flat, (without each bulb touching), in a tub of slightly moist peat moss. Do not let the tips dry out, so cover the bulbs completely in 1" of media. I kept the tub in a warm room at about 75 degrees F. I would have planted them right away, but I had to go out of town for a week. Anyways, when I returned and pulled them out of the tub, each tuber had germinated in one or two of the legs. I then planted them in pots and watered them fully, then kept the soil slightly moist until the growing tips appeared above the surface. Sandersonia seem to take a while to break the surface, but as soon as they do, they grow vigorously. Be patient, do not overwater, as they despise wet and cold conditions. I will attempt to grow them from seed next time.

Neutral Kiyzersoze On Jun 18, 2010, Kiyzersoze from Coral Springs, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I am glad that I read the comments before purchasing seeds. Thanks you Ferrymead. There is no way I am going through all that to start a plant from seed.

Positive dwarbucks On Jul 2, 2009, dwarbucks from San Francisco, CA wrote:

Bought bulbs through mail order after seeing them in a friend's garden. This is its 3rd year to bloom, getting larger each year, with five blooming stems now. I grow it in a pot with regular potting soil where it gets about 1/2 day of sun. I leave it in the pot, outside all winter and have had no problems (San Francisco), so was surprised to hear lifting in the winter is recommended

Positive ferrymead On Jan 7, 2007, ferrymead from nelson
New Zealand (Zone 9a) wrote:

Once grew Sandersonias commercially from seed for both tuber production and flower stem sale. Grew in bark compost in wooden sided beds for tuber sizing up and in polystyrene boxes for flowering.
Seeds were harvested by gathering flowering stems ( hedge cutter used) from growing on tubers. Dried them indoors for several weeks, then put through threshing machine. Seeds were placed into fine mesh bags and hung up in a dry dark shed.
These seeds were planted in Spring into seed trays and grown outside to size up. Would flower after replanting the next season.
Flowering stems for sale were grown in a greenhouse in ppolystyrene boxes, fertilized compost, trickle irrigation and two sets of support mesh which were moved up the support standards, this was necessary to ensure straight stems.
Stems were cut, graded for sized stem lengths, the stems placed into floss packets and packed into cartons ready to go to the exporters.

Neutral udigg On Jan 23, 2006, udigg from PH
Israel (Zone 10b) wrote:

The plant, just like Gloriosa was recently moved to a separate family, called Colchicaceae. Along with the Colchicum, naturally..

Neutral grammagt On Apr 25, 2005, grammagt from Portland, OR wrote:

FYI: Colchicine is an old drug used to treat acute gout. Just purchased some bulbs at the Nursery Sale in Clark County Fairgrounds, Washington, and my joints aren't even aching!

Positive cblunkjr On Aug 16, 2004, cblunkjr from Clatskanie, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is the 1st year at growing this one. Have grown 2 in a pot and will collect seeds and try them. I haven't overwintered it yet but will put one into the ground before frost and bring other one inside to go dormant.

Positive spur On Jul 21, 2004, spur from Florence, OR wrote:

I got 3 bulbs from a grower in Tillamook OR this year, and they have done absolutly wonderful. I just love them, they are so Cute! They really like the Oregon coast wether.

Neutral Bug_Girl On Nov 8, 2003, Bug_Girl from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I bought three of these as bulbs from the cow palace garden show. Only one of them worked. My plant was much smaller then expected.

Neutral pelican On Sep 12, 2002, pelican wrote:

I received this plant as a gift, unidentified and with no culture directions. One site classifies it as a member of the family Colchicaceae. If this is accurate, it contains colchicine and is therefore toxic.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

San Francisco, California (2 reports)
North Haven, Connecticut
Saint Augustine, Florida
Columbus, Ohio
Clatskanie, Oregon
Florence, Oregon

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