Oxblood lilies trumpet summer’s end

Whoo-hoo, we made it through another summer here in Texas! For almost a week, lower temperatures (80s and low 90s) with even lower humidity, combined with recent rains, have rejuvenated my gardening spirit. The plants are feeling it too, perking up and starting to bloom again. But my hands-down favorite of the fall harbingers (although beautyberry runs a close second) is the trumpet-blast of deep-red oxblood lily (Rhodophiala bifida).

Forgotten all summer, these Argentine bulbs spring out of dormancy with the first good rain in late summer. Hooray!, they seem to shout. Fall is coming!

I think they look especially great with ‘Bright Edge’ yucca, whose moonshine-yellow stripes pick up the yellow of the lilies’ stamens.

Texas native chile pequin (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum) makes a good partner too as its red peppers ripen in late summer.

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16 Responses

  1. Palmito says:

    It’s nice to see these oxblood lilies! We have them flowering just right now too in France. The red seems to blink as an alert for the end of the summer drought each year. Thank you for sharing a wink on the Texas native Capsicuum. Another plant to add to my wishlist!

  2. Beth says:

    Mine usually bloom a little later. Of course we haven’t had as much rain as y’all have. I only have a few a friend gave me, but I’m sure they will multiply.

  3. Evan Bean says:

    I love everything about that first photo. Well, they’re all great, but I love all the plants you’ve put together visible in the first one. The oxblood lilies and yucca area perfect pairing, and I see echoes of the same variegation in the background. The wonderful green texture of the bamboo in the back, the green Capsicum foliage, and the blue pots! It’s all just put together so well!

    80’s and 90’s still sounds far too hot to me, but I guess it’s all relative. I’m looking forward to fall, too! We’re finally expecting significant rainfall next week. I saw a report that Portland has had only .70″ of rain in the last 3 months, and most of that was in June. Bring on the rain!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Thanks, Evan! There’s some selective framing in that top photo, of course. I crouched down to show off the oxblood lilies but also to hide the sad planting in my stock-tank planter behind the yucca. It used to be really cool with a big variegated agave, but that got shaded out by the bamboo and hit with a winter freeze, and I’ve been trying to find a good substitute ever since. Keeping it real!

      The variegated plant in the taller blue pot is ‘Sparkler’ sedge, a favorite of mine. And the ‘Alphonse Karr’ bamboo has some yellow variegation in the culms, which works well with the yucca and oxblood lilies.

      I hope you get some rain soon. It makes such a difference to a garden — much better than hose water. —Pam

  4. Excellent photos of these beautiful lilies. I grew up in Garland, Texas with a mother who was the Garden Editor for the Dallas Times Herald. She had lilies in her garden that looked like the oxblood lilies in your photos that she called “September Lilies”. I did a Google search to see if September Lilies was another common name for oxblood lilies, but didn’t find any references indicating such was the case. Have you ever heard them referred to as September Lilies?

    • Pam/Digging says:

      No, but I’ve heard them called schoolhouse lilies, because they bloom when school starts, and hurricane lilies because…well, for obvious reasons. (Confusingly, spider lilies are also sometimes known as hurricane lilies.) September lilies makes sense though!

      BTW, I changed the link you provided because the website didn’t seem to have any info in it, just placeholder text. Is it a new site you’re working on? I almost thought it was a spam site, but then I found your older blog on Blogger, plus social media sites. I linked your comment to your IG account but will be happy to change it back to your website when it’s up and running.

      Thanks for visiting Digging! —Pam

      • Hi Pam,

        Thanks for the reply. Yes, my website is a recent work in progress. I will let you know when it is up and running. Sorry for not mentioning that when I signed up for your newsletter.

        And yes, I have Flickr, Instagram, Blogger, and Twitter accounts under the name phogardentog.

        I look forward to reading your blog and getting to know you!



        P.S. – My family in I lived in Dripping Springs briefly in 2012 and 2013, and have friends and family living in Austin.

  5. Tom E says:

    I’m with you, hooray for the harbinger of summer’s end – oxblood lilies! I’m up to a hundred or so bulbs now with the interplay with Aztec grass being my latest composition. New Daylilies are on their way in the mail signifying the start of our fall growing season. Enjoyed traveling with you to the great northwest this summer…those August Mendocino poppies were too much!! Nice to see your French connections sharing a comment here too!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Wow, 100? I’d love to see that. I bet they look great with the creamy variegation of the Aztec grass. BTW, I have a few more posts to share about my August trip to the PNW. I’m glad to know you’re enjoying them! —Pam

  6. Those lilies do appear to be shouting hooray.

  7. Heather says:

    Happy fall, Pam! This break in the heat has been glorious- just like your lilies! They look beautiful :)

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