Propagating Native Plants: Rain Lily


Cooperia pedunculata aka Zephyranthes drummondii

This spring I greedily gathered seed from the rain lily that lives snugged up against the concrete curb and scattered them willy nilly hoping that I might have more MORE MOAR rain lilies. This is how I romantically pictured myself (minus the hat):

Vincent van Gogh The Sower, 1888.  © Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Vincent van Gogh The Sower, 1888. © Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

As far as I can tell nothing happened. The Johnny Appleseed technique did not work. Here. For me. So this time I will give the seeds some tender care because I really do want more MORE MOAR rain lilies.

When to sow: As soon as possible after collection. The seed cannot be stored.

Special treatment: None as far as I can tell but after the seeds germinate keep the new plants moist until the leaves reach a length of several inches to avoid forcing the little plants into dormancy.

Fresh or dried seed: Fresh only

Planting depth: Sow on potting soil. Cover lightly with sand.

Preferred temperature for germination: unknown to me

Days to germination: 2-4 weeks

Vegetative propagation: Rain lilies grow from bulbs and can be divided. Plant 4 inches deep to increase the number of bulbs; 8 inches deep for more abundant flowers.

For more detailed information: Aggie Horticulture: Growing Rain Lilies from Seed by Cynthia Mueller


These seeds really were easy to germinate.

Planted September; sprouted October 1. Looks like close to 100% germination.
Day temperatures ranged from 86-91; evening temperatures 60-74.
The media was potting soil covered with plastic wrap set in indirect light.

rain lily seedling
rain lily seedling

2 thoughts on “Propagating Native Plants: Rain Lily

  1. I sprinkle seed from each lily bloom’s seed pod as I can (the deer like to eat them and often get there first). It seems to me the germination rate is very low that way but I do get new lilies eventually. Probably because other conditions were “just so”. These are wonderful experiments and again, I’ll be watching carefully because yes yes yes. MOAR lilies!


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