Sandersonia Species, Chinese Lantern Lily, Christmas Bells

Sandersonia aurantiaca

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



Vines and Climbers

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:


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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

San Francisco, California(2 reports)

North Haven, Connecticut

Saint Augustine, Florida

Columbus, Ohio

Clatskanie, Oregon

Florence, Oregon(2 reports)

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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 wate... read more


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.


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


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 en... read more


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..


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.