Glory Lily, Gloriosa superba, is not really a lily but is absolutely superb. It is one of the few vines in the Mary Snoddy garden. When I purchased two odd looking bulbs, the label said they were only cold hardy in zone 8-10. I planted mine in two containers against one of my outbuildings, with plans to move the containers inside before freezing weather arrived. The vines were beautiful, although they did not bloom until late summer during their first year. I forgot to move them to a freeze-proof area, and assumed that I had lost them. That was fifteen years ago. The vines have made a return appearance every year. I believe that the outbuilding provides just enough protection to allow them to survive my zone 7b winters.
The bulb resembles a fingerling potato or a Jerusalem artichoke, but it is kin to neither. Instead it is in the same genetic family as Colchium, the fall-blooming crocus. When vines emerge from winter dormancy, they grow very quickly. The tendrils at the tips of the leaves curl around whatever is close. I choose to provide a trellis, but they can be allowed to scramble over a shrub. The variety in my garden is ‘Rothschildiana’ which has red and yellow blooms. I have also seen it listed in catalogs as Gloriosa rothschildiana. Blooming starts in mid-June and continues until frost.
Be prepared for the vines to reach anywhere from 6 to 15 feet. The deeper the bulb is planted, the shorter the vines and the more erect their growth habit. They like an evenly moist soil and full sun. The vines are a bit brittle, so if you plan to train them on a trellis, start while the plants are small and don’t require a lot of manipulation. Avoid windy areas to prevent to vine breakage.
All parts of the vine are toxic and ingestion may be fatal. Enjoy looking but don’t eat.