How to Grow Sprekelia Plants

Guide to Growing Aztec Lily, Jacobean Lily, and Jacob's Lily

Members of the Sprekelia plant genus are half hardy bulbs. The plants are often grown as annuals in the garden.

They range from 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) in height. Sprekelia bloom from towards the end of spring through early summer.

Sprekelia by Lauracarrie; Creative Commons.

Sprekelia have narrow lance shaped leaves. They carry red flowers reminiscent of lilies.

Sprekelia formosissima
Sprekelia formosissima by Erick Lux

Some common names for Sprekelia include Jacobean Lily, Aztec lily, St. James' Lily, and Mexican Fire Lily.

Commonly Grown Sprekelia Species Photographs and Plant Identification

Sprekelia formosissima

Sprekelia formosissima syn. Amaryllis formosissima.

Sprekelia formosissima
Sprekelia formosissima (Aztec Lily), photograph by manuel m. v; CC.

Sprekelia cybister

Sprekelia cybister
Sprekelia cybister (Hippeastrum), picture by 阿橋 HQ; CC.

Sprekelia Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Aztec Lily, Jacobean Lily, Jacob's Lily.
Life Cycle: Half hardy bulb commonly grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners
Height: 12 inches (30 cm).
Native: Central America.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10. As a perennial in zones 9 and 10.

Flowers: Spring and summer and/or autumn. Sometimes two blooms in a year; other times may go for years without blooming.
Flower Details: Red. Lily-like.
Foliage: Lanceolate. Narrow.

Plant Outside: Bury bulbs about 5 or 6 inches deep. A few weeks after the last frost in cool areas or in autumn in warm areas. Spacing 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm); often grown in pots.
Requirements: Full sunlight or partial shade. Good drainage. Rich soil. Slightly acidic soil and presence of oak trees is beneficial but not essential. Fortnightly liquid feed. Regular watering. Bring bulbs indoors in autumn in cold areas and store in vermiculite. Propagate: from bulblets.

Family: Amaryllidaceae.
Miscellaneous: Often grown as a pot plant. Aztec lilies usually do not bloom every year. Perhaps one out of every four plants will bloom in a given year.

How to Grow Sprekelia plants such as Jacobean and Aztec Lilies

If growing outdoors from the off, then grow Jacobean lilies and other Sprekelia from bulbs.

Plant the Jacobean lily bulbs at a depth of 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) a couple of weeks after the last frost of spring, or in the autumn in hotter areas.

Sprekelia plant species should be spaced about 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 inches) apart. They can grow in sunny or partially shaded locations, that have good drainage.

Ideally the soil that Sprekelia grows in should be fertile.

If growing from seed, then start off indoors. The seeds should be lightly covered and allowed to germinate at a temperature of 18 to 22 degrees centigrade (64 to 72°F).

Grow the plants indoors for about two years, then transplant outdoors a couple of weeks after the last frost of spring.

It will take about seven years until seed grown Sprekelia plants will produce flowers.

Caring for Sprekelia Plants in the Garden

It is fairly easy to look after Sprekelia plant species such as Jacobean lily and Aztec Lily.

They should be regularly watered, and require to be fertilized every two weeks during the growing season.

If you require more plants, then they can be propagated by planting the bulblets that they produce following flowering.

Common Questions

How many members does the Sprekelia genus have?

The Sprekelia genus consists of just two species.

Do members of Sprekelia make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Sprekelia species, with their stunning, red, orchid-like flowers, make an exceptional addition to any garden or landscape.

Which Sprekelia species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Sprekelia formosissima, also known as Jacobean Lily, is frequently grown due to its spectacular flowers.

Are members of the Sprekelia plant genus fragrant?

Sprekelia flowers are not particularly fragrant, but their visual appeal more than compensates for this.

What is the perfect location to grow Sprekelia?

Sprekelia prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil. They're great for containers, borders, or as a standout specimen plant.

Is Sprekelia invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Sprekelia is not listed as invasive in the USA. As always, refer to local guidelines for the most current information.

How do I remove Sprekelia plants from my garden?

To remove Sprekelia, dig up the entire plant, ensuring to remove all bulb and root material to prevent regrowth.


The Sprekelia genus, often referred to as Jacobean lily or Aztec lily, is a bulbous perennial plant native to Mexico. It's prized for its striking, deep-red, orchid-like flowers that bloom in late spring or early summer.

Plant Sprekelia bulbs in spring in a location with full sun and well-drained soil. They require regular watering during their growth and blooming period but less so once the foliage has died back. As they are not frost-tolerant, in colder climates the bulbs should be lifted and stored over winter.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Sprekelia plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Allium schoenoprasum, Hibiscus, and Crinum plants.