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PlantFiles: Copper Lily, Rain Lily, Rainlily, Stagger Grass
Habranthus tubispathus

Family: Amaryllidaceae (am-uh-ril-id-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Habranthus (ha-BRAN-thus) (Info)
Species: tubispathus (too-bee-SPA-thus) (Info)

Synonym:Habranthus andersonii
Synonym:Zephyranthes tubispathus
Synonym:Zephyranthes andersonii
Synonym:Habranthus tubispathus var. texensis
Synonym:Habranthus texanus

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8 members have or want this plant for trade.

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12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
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

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

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

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By jluc4
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By MizD
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4 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Limestonelin On Aug 28, 2013, Limestonelin from SPRING BRANCH, TX wrote:

We found about 6 of these delightful little plants growing wild in the shade under very old, large native trees on our property in the hill country. We have planted the seeds in a pot while still fresh and found that they germinate well. I have never seen them under cultivation or growing wild anywhere else. I envy those who have many of them.

Positive dmj1218 On Apr 27, 2008, dmj1218 from west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Habranthus tubispathus is a variable species with members in both South and North America.

Habranthus tubispathus var tubispathus (or SA form) is the shorter, most commonly occurring form of this species.This delightful yellow species is the South American cousin of the native Texas variation. The flowers usually appear before the foliage in early summer and bloom off and on until fall. This species is easy to care for and seems to thrive on neglect in full sun with average rainfall. This is a much shorter blooming variation than Habranthus tubispathus var texensis and is actually the form found most often naturalized in the lawns and abandoned fields, etc. in the state of Texas.

Habranthus tubispathus var texensis is definitely the most beautiful variation of Habranthus tubispathus which is also a Texas native. This variation of the species blooms on taller scapes (14"-16") than the other two variations of Habranthus tubispathus and has rich, pronounced, coppery-golden blooms with distinctive reddish stripes or striations on the exterior. The bulbs on this variation also grow much larger than the commonly seen South American form found in Texas. It likes full sun and good moisture when in growth. It blooms profusely and repeatedly for me from June through October, whenever rainfall permits. A lot of the US (such as CA) is envious of Texans ability to actually make this variation bloom; it requires both heat in summer and summer rainfall. Some taxonomy "splitters" insist on calling this species Habranthus texanus; but in Texas, Habranthus tubispathus var texensis is accepted nomenclature for the 'Texas Copper Lily' which is simply a variation of Habranthus tubispathus. Somewhat slow to reproduce from offsets, it is a reliable and prodigious seed producer and quite easy to grow from seed forming large colonies under the right conditions. A very choice variation of this species!

Habranthus tubispathus var roseus is a dramatic and unusual variation of the species having very distinctly different colored buds--pink with rose stripes or striations on the outside and then opens to a pale pinkish-yellow color. This species prefers to grow in winter/early spring here in Texas for me, and quickly goes dormant with the onset of the serious heat and humidity of June. Likes ample moisture and partial shade during growth but tolerates drier conditions when dormant. A much shorter, with nocturnally opening blooms on this variation of this species which is good for growing in zones 7-9. Native to South America.

Neutral aprilwillis On Jul 28, 2006, aprilwillis from Missouri City, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

The flowers are very pretty but unlike other habranthus this one seems to flower much less frequently and seem less vigorous to me. Still it's worth planting.

Neutral htop On Aug 5, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant so I can't give it a rating. Copper lily is also known as Rio Grande copperlily and Texas Atamasco lily. It is a native perennial rain lily that inhabits Florida, Louisiana, Texas and South America (Argentina and Uruguay). In Texas, it can be found in gravely sand, clay and calcareous soils in the South Texas Plains and Edwards Plateau regions. It is the only plant of its genus to grow in Texas. It inhabits grasslands, prairies and disturbed areas.

Copper lily has a grass-like shape and grows between 6 and 12 inches tall. The dull green, grass-like, linear leaves are smooth, very narrow, thick and are usually about 9 inches and 1/4 inch wide. They appear after flowers has withered. This bulb produces solitary stems with single funnel-shaped flowers which bloom after a rain or deep watering. The 1 inch across unusual copper-colored (yellow-orange, burnt orange) bloom has streaks of bronze on the inside. It is almost completely coppery or purplish red on the outside. It has 3 petals and 3 petal-like sepals. Copper lily produces a three-sided seed capsule which contains papery, ebony seeds. The plants flower from summer through October. It is very showy when planted in groups where the blooms make a mass of color. This plant would do well in areas that are dry or receive average rain and would be useful as a cultivated planting in lawns, beds, rock gardens or xeriscapes. It is also a great container plant.

Positive MizD On Jun 26, 2004, MizD from Lufkin, TX wrote:

These tiny blooms are always a welcome surprise...we never know where they'll pop up! Bloom last about a day, then form seed pods of thin black seeds which scatter when ripe. Foliage is a clump of grass-like leaves. Easy to transplant. Usually bloom during rainy spells --Spring, Summer, Fall.

Positive mbandaka On Mar 1, 2003, mbandaka wrote:

This plant came to me as variety 'texensis' I don't know if that is correct or not. I have two clones, one is extrememly self fertile and set lots of seed (which will sometimes bloom the second season after sowing!)-the other clone does not set seed. The flower is exactly as shown in the photo, striped with bronze or purple(however your eye interprets the color), nodding slightly, and never opening flat. Should be fun to cross with white or pink zephs. There is another variety called 'roseus' that is definitely pink (it opens with yellow tints that fade as the flower matures), it is also a great plant but perhaps not as vigorous as 'texensis.' I have had pots of texas copper lily in full bloom, without any leaves apparent, that were stunning (50 flowers in a 10 inch pot),unfortunately the flowers only last about 2 days.


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

Little Rock, Arkansas
West Palm Beach, Florida
Liberty, North Carolina
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Dale, Texas
Houston, Texas
Huntsville, Texas
La Grange, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Muldoon, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
San Augustine, Texas
Spring Branch, Texas
Victoria, Texas
Willis, Texas

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