Cyrtanthus brachyscyphus, Dobo Lily, Orange Ifafa Lily; Kleinrooipypie (Afikaans); uNompingi (Zulu)
The dobo lily is a real charmer with about 30cm long dark green leaves, and orangey-red, pendant tubular flowers from about August to November each year. (Depending on the weather and cold, they could flower a couple of weeks either side of those months.) Like many of the Cyrtanthus genus, they like to be grown in containers where you can leave them in the same container for years. They do well indoors on a sunny windowsill - either early morning or late afternoon sun is ideal. The bulbs in cultivation are usually just under the soil surface, but in the Eastern Cape near East London, I have seen this species growing between the cracks on rock outcrops and cliffs. They prefer semi-shade to being in full sun. There is a form of this species growing in the grasslands of southern KwaZulu-Natal that is not evergreen due to the fact that it loses its leaves in the winter months when the grasslands are burnt. These plants will grow up in the Highveld but need shelter from frost.
I prefer to grow the bulbs in shallow seedling trays, as a tray is more stable, with a low centre of gravity, meaning your precious bulbs do not get knocked off a bench or table. The bulbs sucker freely and can be split off to make more plants. The black, papery-winged seed is ripe in about December to January and, if sown immediately, will be a pea-sized bulb by early winter of the same season. The bulbs flower about 3-4 years after germination. Feed with a liquid fertiliser in summer but allow the bulb to rest with no fertiliser and very little water during the winter months - until early September.
The dobo lily is another of our tough bulbs that is virtually bullet-proof. Saying that, its biggest enemy is the Amaryllis Worm or Moth. The Amaryllis worm is the larval form of a night-flying moth that was introduced from South America and here, vigilance is your only hope. This moth is nocturnal with the females laying their egg clusters on the undersides of the long fleshy leaves. If you only have a few specimens of the plant, and the plant lives outdoors in a shade house or on a bench, you will have to inspect the underside of the leaves daily to look out for the pale, creamy-yellow clusters of moth eggs. When you find these clusters, using your thumb and forefinger, gently rub them off the underside of the leaf.
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