Gloriosa, Climbing Lily, Fire Lily, Flame Lily, Gloriosa Lily, Glory Lily 'Rothschildiana'

Gloriosa superba

Family: Colchicaceae
Genus: Gloriosa (glo-ree-OH-suh) (Info) (glo-ree-OH-suh) (Info)
Species: superba (soo-PER-buh) (Info)
Cultivar: Rothschildiana
Synonym:Gloriosa rothschildiana
View this plant in a garden


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Vines and Climbers

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 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:

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

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

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Alexander City, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama

Sedona, Arizona

Burbank, California

Chula Vista, California

Los Angeles, California

Newport Beach, California

Richmond, California

Sacramento, California

San Diego, California

San Juan Capistrano, California

Santa Ana, California

Santa Cruz, California

Andover, Connecticut

Altoona, Florida

Apopka, Florida

Auburndale, Florida

Avon Park, Florida

Bartow, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

De Leon Springs, Florida

Deland, Florida(2 reports)

Delray Beach, Florida

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lake Mary, Florida

Mc Intosh, Florida

Miami, Florida

Miccosukee Cpo, Florida(2 reports)

New Port Richey, Florida(3 reports)

Ocala, Florida

Ocoee, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Pinellas Park, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida

Punta Gorda, Florida

Saint Augustine, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sanford, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Valrico, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida(2 reports)

Winter Haven, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Albany, Georgia

Lawrenceville, Georgia

Mableton, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia(2 reports)

Smyrna, Georgia

Townsend, Georgia

Valdosta, Georgia

Warner Robins, Georgia

Winterville, Georgia

Honomu, Hawaii

Divernon, Illinois

Madison, Indiana

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Bordelonville, Louisiana

Jarreau, Louisiana

Kenner, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Metairie, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana(2 reports)

West Monroe, Louisiana

Lowell, Massachusetts

Midland, Michigan

Cleveland, Mississippi

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Munsonville, New Hampshire

Southold, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Fuquay Varina, North Carolina

Greenville, North Carolina

Pinehurst, North Carolina

Cleveland, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

Reading, Pennsylvania

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Camden, South Carolina

Effingham, South Carolina

Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Alvin, Texas

Austin, Texas(2 reports)

Baytown, Texas

Deer Park, Texas

Freeport, Texas

Gilmer, Texas

Houston, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

Kerrville, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

Port Arthur, Texas

Dutton, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 8, 2016, Anton15 from Hong Kong,
Hong Kong wrote:

Lovely thing, plant and forget, every year you will get more and more. Somehow they produce lots of little tubers underground, if this is self seeding or what Im not sure.

To stop them climbing just plant very deeply in very poor free draining sandy soil mixed with a very little organic matter in full sun. This way they grow straight up and stand erect at just under 30-cm. The more fertiliser and compost you give them the longer and more vinning they become. You get bigger flowers with compost but also a very large plant.

Make sure you plant where you want them as they are very difficult to remove. Pulling up the vines seems to trigger more bulbs beneath the soil, and digging them up breaks them up and each broken piece seems to heel over and form a new bulb ... read more


On Apr 13, 2015, matspj75 from Hong Kong,
Hong Kong wrote:

A beautiful plant that grows well here in Hong Kong in containers. In the first year they grew to about 14 feet finally flowering profusely. These bulbs had come Sri Lanka apparently.

Here is a curious old tale. The Sri Lankan contact they had been imported from said that when lovers in his country were prevented from marrying each other they would commit suicide together by eating this bulb!


On Apr 8, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

We've grown these in large pots in ordinary peat-based potting soil for several years now, and the plants have grown larger each year. The healthy foliage is attractive, and the exotic flowers are magnificent.

They clearly do not have an unusual requirement for strongly alkaline soil pH.

They are in good light but with little direct sun, and they bloom fairly well. (I suspect they would grow and bloom even better with more sun.) With a little assistance, they successfully climb a bamboo trellis.

During the growing season, we fertilize with Miracle-Gro. We winter over the dormant tubers in a basement.


On Oct 23, 2013, michaelhickman from Durban,
South Africa wrote:

Gloriosa superba grows naturally on the coastal dunes in humus rich beach sand along the east coast of South Africa in Durban as a result this plant is very salt wind resistant. I have grown it very successfully as a green roof plant as part of research I have been undertaking for the City of Durban to select suitable local plants which can be grown on bio-diverse green roofs.
see more info on Gloriosa superba as a green roof plant at


On Apr 27, 2013, millieboo from Lynchburg, VA wrote:

I planted 2 tubers in a pot last spring and had lovely blooms. I ordered more and have just planted them in pots, also.
My question: I am in zone 7, and we are still having nights in 40s & 50s F. Can I leave these pots on the deck all night? I don't know how "tender" they are when first planted and haven't sprouted yet.
Thanks for any advice!


On Sep 1, 2012, littlewhootsie from Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have this plant in a smaller trellised wooden pot w/a clematis. It usually blooms when the clematis stops blooming. I had tubers but grew one plant (that did not survive) from seed like an Amaryllis Belladonna. Just begin experimenting by putting 3 seeds in a small clay pot w/good potting soil you usually use and put it in a greenhouse condition until you see sprouts and then harden off and fertilize. Experimentation is the Best route. They are worth "tending". They are such magnificent flowers. Every time I see them bloom I think: "I grew that?" : )


On Jun 30, 2012, EEplants from Ocean Springs, MS wrote:

I was given some Gloriosa Lilies back in 2003. I have always grown mine in containers and they have bloomed every year. I have always placed them next to a shrub to climb.
I have tried to get them to climb a trellis, but mine seems to only want to climb on a "living" plant.
I have gathered some seed pods this year and would like to know how to grow them from seed.
If anyone knows how to sprout the seeds, I would greatly appreciate the information.
~ Always growing, always learning.


On Sep 19, 2011, Cal_Bear from Burbank, CA wrote:

This is a marginal at best plant where I live in Southern California. I received a bulb free at the county fair three years ago. For two years, the vine came up but no flowers. This year, there were two beautiful flowers at the top of a three-foot vine, very beautiful flowers. After that, it died back. It took over two years to flower!! I will check the acidity of the mulch I use, as that could be a problem. Bulb is planted in the ground, not in a pot.


On Nov 1, 2010, fitzgeoff from Baton Rouge, LA (Zone 8a) wrote:

It does well outdoors in Baton Rouge and every year it is slightly more rampant and floriferous than the year before. I'm having to cut it back since it is taking over more and more. I have never done a thing to encourage this plant after the initial planting. Drought or flood, snow or heat in the upper 90's, it thrives.


On May 7, 2010, xaia from Kitchener,
Canada wrote:

I purchased 2 tubers of this particular Gloriosa mid-April. I planted them both vertically in the same container in a 75/25 mix of potting soil to perlite. I watered them well and patiently awaited their growth. They sprouted and started to grow quite well. When the bud of leaves at the apex of both stems began to unfold I was really excited!! To my surprise, however, I noticed something was a little off with one of the plants... It's first leaf appeared to be variegated in the direction of the veins. Thinking to myself that the plant might be suffering from an ailment, I moved the container out of partial shade and into a bright yet indirect Sun location. Still a couple more leaves came out from the growing tip, they too having the same variegation. I did an online search and couldn't fin... read more


On Nov 9, 2009, Malleemaid from Mount Mary via MORGAN,
Australia wrote:

I grew up in New Guinea, where we grew it up our carport, then after 45 years, I managed to grow it in a very dry, almost desert area where I now live. Everyone who has seen my beauty in flower is fascinated, but I would like to know what sort of fertiliser to give it.


On May 4, 2009, gardenhippie from Stroudsburg, PA wrote:

I grow these in pots on my sunny deck, they grow about 4 feet tall in the pots and I put a short trellis in the pot for the tendrils to attach themselves. They are a truly delightful flower that is very easy to grow in pots. I dig them up at the end of the year and replant in the spring.


On Jan 20, 2009, duece from Kewanee, IL wrote:

I have grown this plant to sell and have had good luck but found I had to keep the alkalinity up higher than what was normal on usual bench plants for them to be happy and grow well and flower. I am wondering if some of the posts I am reading might be helped by raising the alkalinity of your pots some what. Just a thought.


On Jul 2, 2008, dstrick7 from Winterville, GA wrote:

Talk about low maintenance...I tried starting bulbs in a pot, and nothing happened for months. I dumped the pot out (next to the fence), and a couple of years later it came up! It's doing better each year!


On Jun 21, 2008, MiniPonyFarmer from Gilmer, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have grown Gloriosa Rothschildiana for 2 years now in East Texas zone 8b. Our winters are generally mild but last winter was unusually cold and we did have several freezes and dips into the teens. These tubers were in a large pot and they survived the winter just fine for me, without any protection or special effort, on the north-facing open porch in the large pot. This spring, I dug them out and set them aside for 3 months before finally getting them into a new location. They IMMEDIATELY sprouted and grew and are blooming full force. They are tough!

I will say that the color can vary slightly from vine to vine. Some are more flame-red, others tend toward purply red.

Lastly, I too have experienced that they POUT when touched or moved. Especially if th... read more


On Apr 13, 2008, WatchfulEyes from Little Rock, AR (Zone 7b) wrote:

Serious invasive plant/weed in Australia since its introduction in 1950's. Given that it can also spread by seed and poisonous to animals, I wouldn't grow it anywhere it's hardy.


On Oct 9, 2007, Joy from Kalama, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I grew this for the first time this year. I had it growing in a large container that was up against a trellis. It didn't get very big or bloom because slugs were contantly eating away the leaves. Next year I plan to put it up off the ground so that the slugs won't be able to reach it so easily.
These seem to be real slug magnets.


On Aug 30, 2007, growingranny from Dutton, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have at least a dozen of these plants growing in zone 7b, they are hardy here as long as they are well mulched in the winter. And I do have to touch them to move them around and they never stop growing for me. It is also growing in very acid soil and doing well.


On Jun 23, 2007, macybee from Deer Park, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

From Botanica: (Glory Lily, Climbing Lily) This genus contains one variable species of tuberous climbing lily from Africa and western Asia. Although it flowers resemble some of the Lilium species with strongly reflexed petals, the genus is actually more closely related to Colchicum and the plants contain the same highly poisonous compound colchicine. They climb over low shrubs and through long grass by means of the coiled, tendril-like tips of the leaves. They are widely grown for their decorative, brightly colored flowers which make long-lasting and most attractive cut flowers. The plants die back in fall or in the tropical dry season to dormant tubers.
Cultivation: Glory lily is a tropical plant and will thrive outdoors only in frost-free, warm climate; in colder areas it can be g... read more


On Mar 29, 2007, vorlonken from Andover, CT wrote:

This plant is very easy to grow and in full sun (in CT) will often reach heights of 8 feet or more. Mine flower energetically with many blooms.

I have disagree with the one negative comment -- I have touched my plants many times, I have to in order to tie them to the trellis the way I want them, and that has never stopped growth for me.

One caution, if the stem breaks the plant will stop growing but it does not hurt the production of the new tuber. In fact, studies of this plant indicate that if you limit the number of blooms you will get a bigger tuber.


On Mar 24, 2007, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

A germination detail:

Park's Success with Seeds (1978) - Sow at 70-75*F; germination within 30 days (baggy over pot indoors under cool flourescent lights)


On Dec 26, 2006, jmorth from Divernon, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

In this midwestern climate I usually grow my upsidedown lilies in large pots with trellis'. 3 or 4 tubers in a 14' or larger pot put on an excellent show. When the season winds down I let em dry out and store them in their pots in the basement over winter. I depot them in early spring, check if the growing point is pink/red and repot them in new soil. An interesting observation is their ability to seemingly re-locate their alignment during a growing season. I start them horizontally a couple inches below the soil line, but when depotted in spring, they're often vertical.
I've also had success growing them in the ground next to a chain link fence. Extreme caution is required when digging them up for winter storage due to their brittleness.


On Jul 30, 2006, chiron from Midland, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I tried this plant years ago as a young gardener and had no luck. I decided to try again last summer (2005) and bought a pack of tubers from a local garden center. I started them inside early in the spring. They came up slowly, then grew very fast. I moved the pot outside after frost danger and let them climb a trellis. I received dozens of comments from neighbors about the exotic flowers. They grew well all summer and finally turned yellow. I wintered the tubers over in a basket filled with wood shavings, along with other tender tubers. They came through the winter very well and are again climbing the trellis out front. They seem trouble free, and easy to grow.


On Jul 27, 2006, skmland from Warner Robins, GA wrote:

I've got perhaps ten of the gloriosa that bloom profusely every year. They are a facinating vine. I do have one problem with them though. They don't like to be touched by human hands. If I should happen to touch the plant, it stops growing at all. It never fails to happen.


On Mar 5, 2006, beardogtwo from Alberton, PE (Zone 5a) wrote:

I purchased a bulb about ten years ago in Vancouver and grew it very successfully with lovely blooms--I took it inside in the fall and it overwintered in a brown paper bag in my cupboard. When I moved to Prince Edward Island in 1999 I planted it in a pot on my rooftop and, as the summers are much hotter and dryer it bloomed all summer--I gave one to a friend and it wouldn't bloom for her--she gave it back to me--it bloomed for me within weeks. I am now trying to grow some of the seeds I harvested last fall--anyone any tips for me? I have it in the warmest part of my kitchen in a small bowl of water--don't know if this is the ideal way to sprout seeds. I love this plant for the amazing color and shape of its flowers. Any help would be much appreciated.


On Sep 29, 2005, AnaM149 from Casselberry, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This one is very easy to grow in Ctrl Florida. My hubby even cut it down with a trimmer once and it just resprouted. I have it growing against my willow so that it got sun and then it looks like the tree blooms! It is a very pretty plant and I love the tendrils at the tips of the leaves. I get to leave it in the ground all year here and have not had any problems. Maybe this year I will try to get it to seed for me...


On Sep 14, 2004, allandown from Red Deer,
Canada wrote:

Growing this lily indoors in western AB Canada is a real challenge. We located a source in Surrey, BC and purchased 2 sprouted tubers and were potted as instructed.We built a trellis about 5 ft high. It was placed in an east window. They grew about 2 in every day and in no time we had to add another 2 feet of trellis. They won't set buds until they start branching and due to the lack of sunlight they didn't branch until 6 feet high -- but it was worth the wait. I am not sure how to post the picture taken in the living room but will try. allandown


On Apr 24, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

These grow pretty wild here and come up year after year. We harvest some of the seeds to give to friends in our Christmas baskets, but let others fall back to propragate. We live in a very rainy area and have had no troubles with it due to humidity. Some of our vines have grown over 15' high to top over some huge Formosa azalea bushes.


On Apr 23, 2004, desertboot from Bangalore,
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

The Gloriosa grows wild in some South Indian jungles. I was recently gifted a pair of tubers which I've placed under a light layer of sandy soil and leaves in two separate pots. It's just begun to rain here - what we call our pre-monsoon showers - so that should suffice for the tubers. All that now remains to be done now is wait. I'm hoping that the experience-rating will shift up a notch!

13 May '04: Update
Hurrah! One of the two tubers woke up last week. The new shoot's already about 4 inches tall...


On Dec 4, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

I wasnīt successfull with this plant. I got 4 bulbs and gave one to my grandma. I planted them in organic soil. 2 of my bulbs grew up, and reached a fair height, but didnīt bloom before it all went down. The next year they didnīt come back, and for 3 years itīs been like this, so I assume I killed them all... My grandmaīs plant, however, keeps coming back every year, but didnīt bloom yet. I donīt know what went wrong. Iīd love to have these flowers, this is one of the few lilies that can grow here.


On Oct 6, 2003, MissPrimrose from Lowell, MA wrote:

Very beautiful climber - I have them in three pots growing against a fence. They retreat to the basement for winter, and I start watering them again in the spring.


On Sep 20, 2003, candem wrote:

I started growing my plant from seed last year (2002) - although the stems and leaves looked good, it never flowered. I left it in the pot, started watering again in the spring and to date have 4 or 5 healthy looking stems but no flowers. Would this be because I started it from seed?
Any suggestions or help would be much appreciated. This plant is very special as I was born in Zimbabwe where it is the national flower and would love to have this small memory with me here in America.


On Jul 27, 2003, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

We have grown Gloriosa Lilies outdoors in our garden for over 40 years. They grow and bloom off and on all year long. The tubers grow deeper and spread out more each year as they multiply. The V shaped tubers should be planted at an angle with the apex higher than the ends, and it needs to be at least 1 inch deep.


On Jul 26, 2003, StAndrew from Lutherville Timonium, MD wrote:

I have always wanted to try growing the gloriosa lily ever since I laid eyes on it. So, this year, I finally bought a small tuber. However, it has yet to come out of dormancy ... it's been about three months, or so, now. I planted it in a 12" faux-terra cotta pot ... an inch or two deep ... horizontally. After a while, I poked around to notice a green bump on the tuber ... I guess it was getting ready to sprout. I thought if I exposed this "green bump" to the sun, it would help it grow faster ... NOT! It healed over and turned into the color that the rest of the tuber is. Nothing else has happened.


On Jun 15, 2003, EvelynDeR from Montgomery, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

I was given some gloriosa tubers two years ago. They die down in Montgomery, AL in the winter and new plants pop up next spring. And pop they do! They seem to pop up a couple of inches the first night and grow quickly after that. I have small trellises and plant stakes to help them stand and they are so unique as the blooms develop. I transplanted one that came up late in the summer to a pot and brought it in when weather turned cold. I had gloriosa blooms in my dining room window for our Thanksgiving family dinner. I have two plants blooming outdoors now and more smaller ones growing.


On Jun 14, 2003, duliticola from Longfield, Kent,
United Kingdom (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have grown these plants for over 40 years and find them well worth propagating from seed, flowering in their second year for me. Mine are all grown in large pots under glass.
The bulbs are left in the pots after the foliage dies back in the fall, and repotted in early spring, keeping quite dry until new shoots appear. Once the plants start growing fast they enjoy warmth and regular feeds and reward with lots of beautiful flowers.
I have never been very successful with them outdoors but if a sunny S. wall, SHELTERED from WIND, was available I think they would do OK most summers.


On Jul 8, 2002, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I grow this lily in a pot that can be stored dry in a cool place in the winter. It emerges slowly from dormancy in early summer, then rapid growth. Roots get bigger and bigger every year, so vine grows much more vigorously during subsequent years with many more flowers.


On Aug 2, 2001, crutland from Lynn Haven, FL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Most unusual and exotic of flowers, the gloriosa lily is crimson and yellow. In bud, the petals face downward, but they open up to a backward arch. The stamens are extremely prominent and spread outward, and the pistil points to the side. The configuration of stamens and pistil has been compared to a clock and a minute hand! It is the bizarre shape of the flower and its vivid colors that make one gasp at the sight of it! Other aspects of the plant are unusual; it is a twining vine, with tendrils coming from the tips of the leaves. The vine grows fast in warm weather, blooms, then dies. After a spell, another vine comes up from the tuberous root.