In honor of the rain that finally fell in My Florida Backyard last night, today we're featuring the rain lily (Zephyranthes atamasca), a really great little Florida wildflower. Rain lilies, as their name implies, pop up after a good rainstorm in the spring and early summer. They are native to the eastern U.S. from Virginia down through northern Florida, and often seem to grow where no one remembers planting them, especially in the middle of grassy lawns.
Rain lilies grow from bulbs, and will definitely spread over time. If you have some growing randomly in your lawn and you'd like to move them to a new place, simply dig up the bulbs and transplant. You can expect several periods of bloom during the spring and summer, usually a few days after a heavy rain following a dry spell. They're the sort of flower you tend to forget is there until they suddenly surprise you with delicate color and subtle fragrance.
Rain lilies often figure fondly in the memories of long-time Florida residents. Because they're a native wildflower, they've been around since the early days of settlement, popping up just like fleabane or toadflax but with a more cultivated feel. The ones in My Florida Backyard are a soft rosy pink when they first bloom, fading to almost white in a few days. We like to snap off a handful and bring them inside to a small bud vase, where they'll last for several days.
If you don't have rain lilies in your yard, but would like to have them, you can purchase bulbs online from places like American Meadows. This is a simple, elegant, easy-to-grow flower that anyone can plant and enjoy. We're so glad to have them (and the rain that makes them bloom!) here in My Florida Backyard.