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The climbing lily is a herbaceous or semi-woody plant, which produces tuberous roots, native to the tropical areas of central Africa. The thin stems, quite branched, stretch up to 100-150 cm, they bear numerous elongated leaves, lanceolate, light green, slightly leathery; at the apex of the leaves there are small hooks with which the plant clings to any support. During the spring and summer months among the leaves numerous flowers bloom, similar to thin lilies, of red or orange color; the buds are bell-shaped, green, as the flower blossoms the petals turn red and tend to curl outwards, giving rise to a very showy flower shape. During the winter months the house-grown specimens keep most of the foliage, while the plants grown in a cold place tend to lose much of the foliage. About a dozen species belong to the glorious genus, the most cultivated is gloriously superb, and in particular the Rothschildian variety; there are also dwarf or yellow-flowered species, and numerous cultivars and hybrids, with red flowers with petals edged in orange, or yellow, or other color combinations. In most cultivars the flowers have curled or rolled petals. These plants are grown as houseplants, but also as garden plants in areas with mild winters; the flowers of glorious superb they are also used in bouquets and floral compositions, to which they give an exotic touch.
During the winter months the examples of climbing lily prefer bright, or even sunny, locations; in summer it is good to repair plants from excessive insolation, especially during the hottest weeks. These plants can be grown in an apartment, at a minimum temperature close to 15-18 ° C; It is also possible to place them outdoors, as they can withstand short periods of frost, as long as they do not receive any watering during the coldest months of the year. For this reason the plants of glorious superb in Italy they are grown in pots, so that they can be moved, depending on the climate, in a place appropriate to their development. To make the plant stretch its stems as desired, it is advisable to equip the container with a trellis, or a scaffolding made of metal or bamboo wire.
From March to September water the climbing lily frequently, avoiding leaving the ground dry for prolonged periods of time; after flowering it is good to thin out the waterings, until they are completely suspended when the temperatures are lowered, to allow the plant to go into vegetative rest. During the months of development it is advisable to supply the plant with fertilizer for flowering plants, mixed with the water used for watering.
These plants prefer soils rich in organic matter, soft and deep, very well drained. Generally, a mixture consisting of leaf mold, universal soil and a small amount of sand is used to help drain excess water.
In autumn it is possible to divide the tubers, maintaining for each portion some thin but well developed roots; during this time of the year it is also possible to remove any side shoots from the plant, to be rooted in a single container. In a sheltered place, with a constant temperature close to 18 ° C, it is possible to sow small dark seeds, which will sprout over a few weeks.
Climbing Lily - Gloriosa superb: Pests and diseases
The bulbs of glorious superb can be ruined by rottenness if cultivated in poorly draining or excessively moist soil; the foliage is sometimes ruined by the attack of aphids and mites.