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Aztec Lily, Jacobean Lily

Sprekelia formosissima

Family: Amaryllidaceae (am-uh-ril-id-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sprekelia (sprek-EL-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: formosissima (for-mo-SIS-ee-muh) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:



12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


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)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


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

Clarksville, Arkansas

Albany, California

El Cajon, California

Encinitas, California

Eureka, California

Granite Hills, California

Harbison Canyon, California

Manhattan Beach, California

Mission Viejo, California

Modesto, California

Rancho San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

San Jose, California

San Marino, California

Sonoma, California

Vista, California(9 reports)

Washington, District of Columbia

Boca Raton, Florida

Inverness, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida

Miami, Florida

Naples, Florida

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Niceville, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Braselton, Georgia

Jesup, Georgia

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baltimore, Maryland

Lincoln, Nebraska

Roswell, New Mexico

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Morganton, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina(2 reports)

Trinity, North Carolina

Clatskanie, Oregon

Dallas, Oregon

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Aledo, Texas

Austin, Texas

Dripping Springs, Texas

Fulton, Texas

Garland, Texas

Houston, Texas

Liberty, Texas

Orange, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

Spring, Texas

Kirkland, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 13, 2019, JennysGarden_TN from Collierville, TN wrote:

Im so excited it see its beautiful, bright red bloom! It is hardy in my zone 7b garden.


On Aug 27, 2014, ricrac from Kirkland, WA wrote:

I planted a few bulbs in a round bowl style planter on a rail on a southwest facing deck a number of years ago.
I pretty much just left them alone. Each year I'd get a few more blooms. Living in Western WA, they got plenty of water even during their dormant periods... They came back and bloomed more every year until.... I thought they'd gotten too crowded and decided I should thin & replant.. .......that was the last I saw of them. Of course, being an ignorant gardener at the time. I probably did everything wrong. So glad I stumbled upon some this yr.- am ordering a couple and will try again in the same planter, in the same location. I'll just plant this fall, add a little bulb/bone meal and leave alone.


On May 27, 2014, FlowerGem1 from irvine, CA wrote:

I planted one bulb last year in a pot and put it on a sunny deck, and I was rewarded with one lovely flower in the spring. This year I have many more leaves, one gorgeous flower blooming now, and another flower bud coming up near it (in the month of May). I think I will buy a few more Sprekelia bulbs in the fall. The flowers don't last for more than a couple of days, but they are stunningly beautiful when they are in bloom. My one bulb has multiplyed a lot in just one year. I live in a very windy part of San Francisco, and the flower is holding up nicely even in the strong wind. This year I was pleasantly surprised to have this bulb also produce a beautiful bloom in late September. I must be doing something right- I love this plant!


On Apr 25, 2014, SEAZ from Sierra Vista Southeast, AZ wrote:

Great and easy bulb for high elevations in SE Arizona (5,200). It has been down to 0F here and the bulbs had no problem. Every winter low 20s are common. Some aztec lily bulbs are planted away from watering sources. They stay dormant until they bloom about June and then leaf out with the summer monsoon. Plants around the house that are watered once a week start blooming in March when max min temps are 70F and 40F. Too much water and too much shade result in leaves but no flowers. Hand pollinate between flowers and you will get seed set.


On May 13, 2013, pbtxlady from Garland, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I planted two of these bulbs, at different times, from different vendors. One has been in the ground 4 years, seems happy, has multiplied, and never bloomed. I've had the second in the ground for 2 years, and finally got a flower this year. It's beautiful and I have to say it was worth the wait. I'm giving it a neutral, though, because of the one that has never bloomed at all. The description above says hardy to 8b, but I'm in 8a and neither of mine have ever been bothered by cold.


On Apr 26, 2011, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I had planted this plant in 2 different locations and had never seen a bloom. The third time it was planted in a very dry area of my garden and within the same season it has bloomed for me.

UPDATE NOV 2015. I have a bloom today, near my Little John callistemon. We've had good rains this year, don't know if moisture has helped. Changed rating to neutral b/c on other parts where I planted it has never bloomed. Immature bulbs? too dry? don't know.


On Apr 7, 2011, tropicdude from Aledo, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I received a single large bulb and put it in a pot. It already had a bud when I received it and the flower was beautiful. I then planted it in the ground in an area with afternoon sun. It has just poked a few leaves out of the ground (early April). It came up even with our unusually abundant snowfall(. 6-12 inches) and 12 degree temperatures. Hoping it blooms soon!


On Oct 2, 2010, MissyWI from Madison, WI wrote:

I can't imagine that there are problems out there growing this. I've found it to be one of the easiest bulbs to nurture of all.
Here in Wisconsin, they go into the pots, and then outside, in mid to late May; a mixture of compost, Fert-i-lome, and chicken grit, with pea gravel on the bottom of the pot. I also put pea gravel in the saucer.
A month later? Bam! And every other year or so, there's a rebloom.

Morning shade, afternoon sun; that's just the way it is.
Rain-barrel water to keep them from drying out. Otherwise, average moistness. (The pea gravel in the saucer keeps you from having to dump them out when you receive too much rain too frequently.)
After bloom, deadhead. Most importantly,- keep the foliage healthy, until frost. Then chop it off,... read more


On Jul 8, 2010, ARIF from LAHORE,
Pakistan wrote:

I have some for over a decade. I have planted them in containers, in garden beds,in shade, in semi shade, in diferent medias, but have failed to get a bloom.
Our sommers are hot 46C winters mild, 1C.
Any advice


On Jul 5, 2010, thmpr from Eureka, CA wrote:

This past spring, I planted three Sprekelia formosissima bulbs in a pot for my container garden. They immediately started producing flowers before they had grown any leaves, with full-sized flowers on very short stems.
After briefly enjoying the flowers, I removed them so the plants could focus on leaf & root production instead. Since leafing out, two of the three bulbs have formed double crowns, & a fourth "mystery crown" has sprouted as well.
For a while I was worried that they were not producing enough leaves, & that the leaves were not large enough, but after viewing other pictures of Sprekelia formosissima in the PlantFiles gallery, I realized the they are healthy and happy. I look forward to their next flowering.


On May 23, 2010, marasri from Dripping Springs, TX wrote:

I love this plant so I am willing to do the extra for it. Most of that has been head scratching. I read that it likes growing under oaks in Northern Mexico so I planted it under a small oak with eastern sunlight in Central Texas. It bloomed nicely for three years, sometimes twice a year and then stopped. Two years no bloom. I read they like slightly acidic soil. I have definitely alkaline. I read they like full sun but afternoon shade where hot (TEXAS). So I realized that I needed to move it since a bush had grown up and definitely made it a shady spot. I also read they do not like being moved so I gave it a lack of expectation for a couple of years. I did move it, added some ground sulfur and compost and now 2 more years later I have 6 looms. I think I fertilized it with some bulb stuff ... read more


On Apr 12, 2010, ceejaytown from The Woodlands, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I can't remember how long I've had this plant. I brought it from a former house to this house, and I've lived here 13 years now. It has multiplied nicely, but it has never bloomed. Because it has multiplied, I have it located in several places in my garden, hoping one of them would be the right spot, but alas, still no blooms. Each year I threaten it with extinction, and each year I spare it and hope once more that it will show its colors. It defies me!


On Aug 10, 2009, ritkitt from Orange, TX wrote:

I found and bought one bulb about ten or twelve years ago, and waited patiently for the first bloom. It has multiplied very well! I now have approximately thirty bulbs, and one of them finally bloomed for me. Not knowing anything about the origin or care of them, I now believe I watered them too often.


On Dec 26, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Aztec Lily, Jacobean Lily (Sprekelia formosissima) is native to Mexico and Guatemala with its natural habitat being rocky hillsides. The 20 inch (50 cm) long leaves come out in spring about the same time as the about 5 inch (13 cm) the flower. The flower, which is bilaterally symmetrical like an orchid, stands about 12 in (30 cm) above ground. Even under optimal conditions, bulbs often don't bloom every year. In a grouping of 12 or so bulbs, only 2 or 3 may bloom in any given year. If the bulbs are disturbed, no blooms may occur for several years.

It needs to be dry when dormant (stop watering when the leaves begin to die back); however, povide some water during periods of new growth (start watering when the leaves and the bloom stem start t... read more


On Jul 3, 2006, tinmiami from Miami, FL wrote:

I received a bulb for this lovely lily and left it in the bag for a long time. Then I planted it on a Sunday and had a flower on Thursday!! Yes only a few days! I could not believe it. In another week I had yet another flower. I am a very inexperienced gardner and can only guess that the time it spent in a plastic bag (in severe humidity!) had something to do with the incredibly quick blooming it underwent. Can anyone tell me about the process? or is it because I am in zone 10b and it blooms better in this severe heat and humidity?


On May 17, 2006, TheTomato from Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have this plant in my border garden, and this is my first year planting it. I was getting discouraged because it was seeming to take an unusually long time to get any sort of sprout (compared to other plants I am more familiar with), but then suddenly, after I had literally forgotten about it and moved on (almost 2 months after planting), a shoot came out of nowhere. The plant is very slow to germinate, but once it does it takes off- 6 inches in a few days for me. Compliments the tigridia and bearded irises surrounding it very nicely.


On May 19, 2005, joltnbolt from Washington, DC wrote:

This plant is very easy to grow and has nice clean foliage. Each bulb will produce at least one if not more flowers in the spring and fall.


On May 11, 2004, WWGG49 from Santa Maria, CA wrote:

A friend of mine has this beautiful flower growing in her garden in Arroyo Grande CA. The house is at least 75 years old and has always had Jacobean Lilies which seemed to have naturalized there.


On Aug 24, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

In Zones 9-10, plant in fall. In colder areas plant in spring. Choose a site with full sun and fast-draining, organic, sandy, slightly acid soil. Space bulbs 8-12" apart and 4" deep. In cold areas, let the bulbs go dry after they flower. Dig and store the bulbs in sand or peat moss in a cool location for the winter. Hardy in Zones 9-10.
Indoor Culture - Plant 1 bulb in a 6" pot with the neck of the bulb above the surface of the soil. Keep lightly moist. Give the plant at least 4 hours of sunlight a day. Feed monthly with 5-10-5 fertilizer. Rest the bulb from October to February. Repot every 3-4 years.