First bloom: Cyrtanthus obliquus

Cyrtanthus obliquus (Knysna lily, Umathaga)

This week, a Cyrtanthus obliquus bulb that I purchased in July 2013 is flowering for the first time in my collection.

With its large tubular flowers, glaucous foliage, and onion-sized bulbs growing exposed at the surface, C. obliquus is one of the most impressive species of the genus Cyrtanthus (Amaryllidaceae). It hails from southeastern Africa in a region extending from the southern Cape to just north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, where it often grows on rock outcrops among various succulent plants [1].


C. obliquus is evergreen, and in my collection it seems to grow slowly year-round, producing one or two new leaves at irregular intervals while old leaves senesce at about the same rate.  In winter, it sits in the sunniest part of the greenhouse (minimum temp 60 F, 15.5 C), and in summer it goes outside in full sun.  I water it a couple of times a week in summer if the weather is dry.  I give it less water in winter but do not allow it to remain bone dry for long periods.


  1. Duncan, G., Jeppe, B., and Voight, L. (2016)  The Amaryllidaceae of Southern Africa, Umdaus Press, Pretoria, South Africa.

4 thoughts on “First bloom: Cyrtanthus obliquus

  1. I’m impressed by your patience. After three years of mollycoddling and no results I would have consigned it to the rubbish tip and missed this display. Obviously, the gardener-gene skipped this generation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s