Rhodophiala Species, Oxblood Lily, Schoolhouse Lily

Rhodophiala bifida

Family: Amaryllidaceae (am-uh-ril-id-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rhodophiala (roh-doh-FY-al-luh) (Info)
Species: bifida (BIF-id-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Amaryllis bifida



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


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)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

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

Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

From seed; direct sow after 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:

Midland City, Alabama

Little Rock, Arkansas

Cathedral City, California

Encinitas, California

Sacramento, California

San Diego, California

Gainesville, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Shreveport, Louisiana

Eupora, Mississippi

Iuka, Mississippi

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Burlington, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Greensboro, North Carolina

Liberty, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Clemson, South Carolina

Anderson, Texas

Arlington, Texas(3 reports)

Austin, Texas(7 reports)

Bastrop, Texas

Beaumont, Texas

Belton, Texas

Bertram, Texas

Bridgeport, Texas

Broaddus, Texas

Carrollton, Texas

College Station, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Dayton, Texas

El Paso, Texas

Elgin, Texas

Fate, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas(3 reports)

Frisco, Texas

Fulton, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Garland, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Houston, Texas(5 reports)

Humble, Texas

Iola, Texas

Lake Jackson, Texas

Lorena, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

Murchison, Texas

Nacogdoches, Texas(2 reports)

Nevada, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Pflugerville, Texas

Pleasanton, Texas

Quinlan, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

Seguin, Texas

Shepherd, Texas

Spicewood, Texas

Tyler, Texas(2 reports)

Willis, Texas

Winnsboro, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 30, 2015, KatrinaVanTassel from Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

October 30, 2015 I found these in a patch along a creek in Arlington, Texas. They were in what used to be a back yard; the house torn down due to frequent flooding. The creek had gone over it's banks September 25th and flooded the area where the lilies were blooming. The red color caught my eye from the creekside. Very pretty, a deeper red than on the pictures posted. More of an oxblood than a red, imagine that.


On Mar 14, 2014, devonhull from Lake Jackson, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

Dug these up from my grandmother's yard in Freeport, TX last (late) spring right before they sold the house. Crammed them in the ground at my house in Lake Jackson, TX and they bloomed in the fall. They multiplied so much I'm digging them up and dividing them. These are great!


On Sep 20, 2013, fireflyintexas from New Braunfels, TX wrote:

I have both the red and the rarer rose colored oxblood - or schoolhouse - lilies. They are as dependable as the seasons....popping up here in New Braunfels the first part of September.....along with the spider lilies. What a treat!


On Sep 28, 2012, GreggLucksinger from Austin, TX wrote:

In my opinion there is no flower more elegant or beautiful than the ones produced by this plant. They are also very easy to grow in the dry alkaline soils around Austin, Texas. I have seen them bloom profusely in deep shade and also in areas with partial sun. Once planted, they require no care except division of the bulbs every year or so if you'd like to spread them around. The plants themselves are quite inconspicuous and I often forget they are there-until the first heavy rain in late August or September when the flowers pour forth almost magically for an all too brief couple of weeks. An added bonus-unlike true Lily plants which are very toxic to cats, these appear to be safe for our feline friends. Look great individually, massed, or along the edges of driveways. I highly recommend th... read more


On Sep 23, 2012, mbrumble from Shreveport, LA wrote:

Add Shreveport,La. to the list of places oxblood lilies grow. I dug some from a friend's yard today and planted them in one of my part-sun/part-shade flower beds. I may go back for more now that I know what they are!


On Nov 16, 2010, atacatsa from Pleasanton, TX wrote:

You cannot kill this plant. I say that because when we moved, I dug up the ones my mother had given me and put them in a box which I did not unearth again until August ( We moved in March). I thought they were dead but decided to dig a bed and plant them. With the first rain of September, they came to life and bloomed. Every year when I see them, I am amazed again. I also agree that the seeds are viable because we have no squirrels and the lilies pop up everywhere.


On Nov 15, 2010, fotofashion from Dayton, TX wrote:

Two years ago before Hurricane Ike, my R. bifidas were looking a bit sad. After Ike they bloomed like crazy. Hurricane lilies indeed!
Beverly A. Near Dayton TX


On Nov 15, 2010, camille4 from Fulton, TX wrote:

I dug bunches of these up from a house over 100yr. old in Smithville, TX and took them to the coast (Rockport/Fulton) to plant. Down here they call them "hurricane lillies" since they come up after heavy rain (hopefully not a hurricane) in the fall. They are always a delightful surprise when they "just appear".


On Nov 15, 2010, Ham36 from El Paso, TX wrote:

A friend gave me a few of these a number of years ago and now I am giving them away. They are like rabbits here in El Paso. Noone should have to buy this.


On Nov 15, 2010, tomtex from Humble, TX wrote:

Oxblood lilies do not set seed? Au contraire. I have a patch of red lilies in my back garden. Without transplanting, a set of lilies sprang up in one of my front beds two years ago, some seventy feet away. This year, another set of lilies sprang up in a second front bed about thirty feet from the nearest lily patch. I have checked the flower stems and indeed there are pods containing what looks a whole lot like mature seeds. We have a healthy population of squirrels that live in and around our home, but I found no indications that the little pests had tried to harvest any of the lily bulbs. I'm open to other explanations for these immaculate transplants.


On Nov 15, 2010, protospheric from Houston, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

Not as big a bloom as I thought would be, but beautiful nonetheless. Shows best when planted densely. My source is Bayou City Heirloom Bulbs:



On Oct 12, 2010, aggiebot5 from College Station, TX wrote:

Very dependable and delightful. Blooms for the first week of school at Texas A&M every year. The flowers do last only a few days each, though if you have enough of them, the staggered blooms can create a week or more of color. Interesting history--native to S. America, brought to TX by German settlers, and passed around for generations. Older neighborhoods may have them under all the trees and along all the walks. Wish there were more available in the trade!


On Oct 9, 2010, Voxann from Pflugerville, TX wrote:

About 3 weeks ago, I discovered this plant had bloomed. I couldn't identify it without the blooms until at that point. I live in my house for about 6 months now. I was pleasantly surprised I have oxblood lilies in my front yard! So beautiful. The only downside about this plant is that after we had a very heavy (I mean really heavy) rain, it caused the poor bloomed flowers to die in a few days! It seemed to have a negative reaction to overwatering, I guess. However, I know that it still lives because its long leaves are in a very good shape. It's a great addition to my front yard!


On Jun 11, 2010, islandms from Galveston, TX wrote:

These bulbs surprised us the first fall after we moved into our house in Galveston. It took a while to identify them. We left most of them where they were since they seemed to be happy there, moving them to other locations only when they became crowded. They all made the change, both those against the house in hot morning sun and those under the oak in light shade. Since then they have all survived two deep freezes, one salt saturation during Hurricane Ike flooding, a tenting of the house for termites that enclosed many of them inside the kill zone, and almost 20 sticky humid summers. I love this plant.


On Oct 28, 2005, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

I got some in trade last year and potted them while I decided where to permanently place. A whole year has passed by, they have bloomed and now I can't wait for the leaves to die so I transplant to the perfect spot inground. They are beautiful.

UPDATE June 2015: wow! almost 10 years later the schoolhouse lilies continue to delight.


On Aug 16, 2003, odouble from Austin, TX wrote:

You're most likely to find this plant as a passalong; if it's found in commerce, it will be through a boutique nursery and not cheap. At any price, don't miss an opportunity to acquire it if you live where it will grow. The flowers appear first, and then the straplike leaves sometime later. Two days ago we had rain; yesterday there was no sign of the schoolhouse lilies; today they're shooting up everywhere and some are already in bloom. Each year there are more of them and they're a welcome sign that summer will end.


On Oct 22, 2002, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

A German-Texas heirloom frequently found in Central Texas around abandoned homesteads. Naturalizes well. Blooms in fall after a rain. Blooms followed by narrow, dark green foliage that stays through fall, winter and spring. Goes dormant in late spring through summer like a Lycoris. Does well in full sun or shade beneath deciduous trees.

My stand is an old stand my Grandma planted over 40 years ago (most probably 60 years ago).