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Products > Cyrtanthus obliquus
Cyrtanthus obliquus - Knysna Lily
Image of Cyrtanthus obliquus
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc.
Family: Amaryllidaceae (Onions)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Orange
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Gyrtanthus olliquus]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: <1 foot
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: >32 F
Cyrtanthus obliquus (Knysna lily) An evergreen plant with a large fleshy bulb about the size of an onion that holds strap-shaped upright gray-green leaves that can rise to 12 to 18 inches tall and often have a slight twist toward the rounded tip. In spring or summer appear the stout stalks rising to about the tips of foliage, as tall as 2 feet, topped by a large cluster with 7 to 12, 3-inch-long pendulous tubular orange flowers that flare out and turn yellow at the petal tips. Plant in full sun and water sparingly late spring through early fall. This unusual bulb comes from the winter-dry eastern cape region so soil must be very well drained and the bulb planted with a majority (two-thirds) exposed, particularly if grown outside in our mediterranean winter-rainfall climate. Allow the bulb to almost completely dry out between watering. Ultimate hardiness is not well known but likely it would be best to protect plants from frost. It may be possible to grow this plant in the ground if soil is well drained but likely this plant should be enjoyed as an interesting container plant. It comes from the coastal grasslands from KwaZulu-Natal to Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape Province where is can be found growing in well-drained soils on rocky slopes. It is reportedly the plant used as the floral emblem of the South African Institute of Parks Administration. The name Cyrtanthus comes from the Greek words 'kyrtos' meaning "curve" and 'anthos' meaning "flower" in reference to the curved perianth tube. The specific epithet obliquus means "slanting" or "blunt" and either refers to the way the leaves emerge from the bulb or to the rounded blunt leaf tips. This plant is usually listed with the common name Knysna lily from the location where it can be found (but this name is also used for Vallota purpurea) and other common names include Justifina, Soldier Lily and Sore-eye Flower. There is great information about this plant on the South African Botanic Garden Website

This information about Cyrtanthus obliquus displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.