Family: Amaryllidaceae
Habitat: South Africa
Cultivation: The bulbs should be planted in April-May in a position of full sun. The ideal temperature is around 20°C. Right after the plantation of the bulb, it requires a lot of water, which should be reduced when the plant has taken root.
Curiosity: Its name comes from the Greek and literally means “Twisted flower”: from kyrtos (twisted) and anthos (flower). The flowers, very bright and colorful, are in fact curved on the stem.


Cyrtantus, also called Vallota in Italy, are bulbs with gorgeous blooms native to the southern regions of Africa. Despite their marvellous blooming, these plants are rather rare in commerce: this is probabily because they are extremely delicate.

Its natural habitats are semi-arid flats and slopes, at an altitude between 100 and 400 meters above the sea level.

Unlike other bulbs, they are perennial. They are small plants, which do not exceed 50-60 cm in height; in Italy they are exclusively cultivated in pots because they do not resist to the harshness of winter. They have an almost completely herbaceous consistency: from the stem depart long lanceolate leaves, thick and arranged like a ray. C. spiralis, the long, narrow leaves curl in beautiful spirals.

The bulb don’t exceed 4-5 centimeters in diameter. This organ has the function to store water and nutrients to survive the harsh conditions of the natural habitat of this plant.

From each stem, one or more brightly colored flowers sprout: yellow, red, orange – more rarely white. The flowers have the characteristic sloping habit that gives the genus its common name, Vallota. The flowers are funnel-shaped, with the petals fused together at their base in one tubular corolla, separating in the upper part in six lobes. The blooming season is usually late Summer.


Cyrtanthus elatus, also known as Vallota speciosa, is the most common species among the many that make up this genus. It has many nicknames, especially in English: it is called, for example, Fire lily because of its resemblance to a lily and the bright red color of its blooms.

These are the other Cyrtanthus species classified so far:

  • C. angustifolius
  • C. brachyscyphus
  • C. brachysiphon
  • C. breviflorus
  • C. carneus
  • C. clavatus
  • C. contractus
  • C. elatus
  • C. epiphyticus
  • C. eucallus
  • C. falcatus
  • C. fergusoniae
  • C. flavus
  • C. galpinii
  • C. guthrieae
  • C. helictus
  • C. herrei
  • C. huttonii
  • C. leucanthus
  • C. loddigesianus
  • C. mackenii
  • C. macmasteri
  • C. macowanii
  • C. montanus
  • C. obliquus
  • C. obrienii
  • C. sanguineus
  • C. smithiae
  • C. spiralis
  • C. staadensis
  • C. stenanthus
  • C. suaveolens
  • C. tuckii
  • C. ventricosus

Check our online shop to find them!


Plants in the Cyrtanthus genus are very delicate and it takes very little to make them sick. That’s why we recommend paying close attention to any warning signs.

Here are our cultivation tips:

In April-May, plant the bulbs and place the pot in a very bright position or in full sun.
Temperatures should not be very high: the ideal is around 20°C (especially in the first months of the bulb’s life). On the other hand, during the winter the plant must be put in a sheltered place, with at least 13°C of heat.
Watering must be regular around May-June and less frequent around July-August. At the beginning of the plant’s life, in fact, the soil should be maintained moist. As the plant ages, it’s instead better to wait until the soil has completely dried up before each watering.
The standard universal substrate you can find in any nursey will do well with your Cirtanthus, as long as it’s mixed with a little coarse sand. This will provide a sufficiently nutritious and draining soil.
Ideal fertilizing is about every 2 weeks during the growing season. Use auniversal fertilizer, but in half the dose prescribed in the product’s instructions.

Once the plant’s vegetative period is over,you can take off the small bulbs that have sprouted at its base and use them as suckers for all intents and purposes.
Once planted in pots with a medium-small diameter, they will take about two or three years before producing in turn splendid flowerings.

Official Web Site:

Italian Blog:

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search