Aztec Lily Sprekelia formosissima

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
πŸͺ Not edible
β€πŸŒ± Hard-care
Aztec lily
Aztec lily
Aztec lily
Aztec lily
Aztec lily
Aztec lily
Aztec lily
Aztec lily
Aztec lily
Aztec lily
Aztec lily


The plant commonly known as Aztec Lily has a striking and exotic appearance. It features bold and distinctive flowers that are typically vivid red, with each petal exhibiting a sheen reminiscent of satin. The blossoms are asymmetrical, composed of several elongated petals that arch back gracefully, creating a silhouette that is often compared to a traditional Flemish turban. The central parts of the flower, which include the reproductive organs, have contrasting colors that add to the visual impact of the bloom. Surrounding these flamboyant flowers, the foliage is composed of strap-like green leaves that emerge from the base of the plant and provide a lush background to the dramatic blossoms. The overall shape and form of the plant present an elegant display that draws the eye, making it a standout in any garden or as a cut flower in arrangements.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Aztec Lily, Jacobean Lily, Maltese Cross.

    • Common names

      Amaryllis formosissima, Crinum formosissimum, Hippeastrum formosissimum, Sprekelia formosissima var. principalis, Sprekelia formosissimum.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as Aztec Lily (Sprekelia formosissima) is not widely known to be toxic to humans. There is limited information on the toxicity of this particular species when ingested by humans. However, as with many plants, it's generally advisable to avoid ingesting it without concrete evidence of its safety. If you suspect that someone has ingested Aztec Lily and is experiencing adverse effects, it is important to seek medical attention.

    • To pets

      Aztec Lily (Sprekelia formosissima) is not specifically listed as toxic to pets like cats and dogs. However, since comprehensive information on its toxicity is not readily available, it is advised to prevent pets from ingesting the plant. If symptoms of poisoning appear after ingestion, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or unusual behavior, it is important to consult a veterinarian. As a precautionary measure, keep the Aztec Lily out of reach of pets, and monitor them for any signs of distress if they are known to nibble on plants.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet [30-60 cm]

    • Spread

      0.5-1 feet [15-30 cm]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: The Sprekelia formosissima, commonly known as the Aztec lily, adds aesthetic appeal to gardens with its striking red flowers that resemble an orchid or a lily.
    • Low Maintenance: Aztec lilies are relatively easy to care for, requiring minimal attention once established, making them a convenient choice for busy or novice gardeners.
    • Drought Resistance: This plant is tolerant of dry conditions, meaning it can survive periods of low water availability, which is beneficial in arid or drought-prone regions.
    • Seasonal Interest: Blooming in late spring to early summer, the Aztec lily provides a seasonal display that can be timed to coincide with other garden features.
    • Bulb Perennial: As a bulb plant, it reliably returns year after year, forming clumps that can be divided and shared, offering long-term value and the opportunity to propagate more plants.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Sprekelia formosissima, or the Aztec lily, is often used in ornamental floral arrangements for its striking, red blooms that can add an exotic flair to bouquets and centerpieces.
    • The Aztec lily can be used in themed gardens to create a display of New World flora, emphasizing plants that originate from the Americas.
    • Because of its unique flower shape, the Aztec lily is used as a photography subject for botanical photographers and hobbyists looking to capture its beauty.
    • The spiky foliage and structure of the Aztec lily make it a candidate for a natural fence when planted in a staggered, dense row in a landscape design.
    • Ecologically, the Aztec lily can provide nectar to certain pollinators, playing a role in the support of native insect populations.
    • The plant's ability to propagate through offsets can be used in educational settings to demonstrate vegetative reproduction processes to students.
    • Artists and illustrators may use the Aztec lily as a model for artwork, textiles, and wallpaper designs due to its visually striking appearance.
    • The Aztec lily is sometimes utilized in cultural ceremonies or festivities in regions where it is indigenous, as a symbol of beauty and nature.
    • In culinary presentations, the distinctive shape of the Aztec lily's flower can be a source of inspiration for plating aesthetics, though the plant itself is not edible.
    • Innovative gardeners might use dried Aztec lily flowers for crafting purposes, such as creating natural jewelry or decorative items.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Aztec lily is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Aztec lily is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Remarkable Beauty - The Aztec lily's striking red blooms and unique form are often associated with remarkable and uncommon beauty.
    • Resilience - Despite appearing delicate, the Aztec lily is a hardy plant that symbolizes the ability to endure and overcome difficult conditions.
    • Passion - Its vivid and bold color makes the Aztec lily a symbol of deep passion and intense emotions.
    • Exotic Appeal - The origin and the distinct appearance of the Aztec lily give it the symbolism of exotic appeal and allure.
    • Pride - In some cultures, the upright stance and proud bloom of the Aztec lily represent pride and self-assurance.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The Aztec Lily prefers to be watered once the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, which typically amounts to once a week during the active growing season. Over the winter, when the plant is dormant, water sparingly, about once every two weeks or less, to prevent rot. It's crucial to avoid waterlogging the soil, so ensure good drainage. Depending on the size and type of pot, you might use approximately half a gallon of water every two weeks during dormancy and increase it to a gallon weekly during its growth period.

  • sunLight

    The Aztec Lily thrives best in bright, indirect sunlight. It can tolerate some direct sun, but it's ideal to protect it from harsh afternoon rays which might damage its foliage. A spot near an east or west-facing window would provide the optimal lighting conditions, offering a combination of morning or evening sunlight with shade during the intense midday sun.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Aztec Lily does well in temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It can withstand a minimum temperature of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum of around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but for optimal growth, keeping it within the ideal range is best. Sudden temperature fluctuations should be avoided to prevent stress on the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Aztec Lily is primarily done to remove spent flowers and dead or damaged foliage, which encourages healthier growth and prevents disease. Clean cuts should be made above a leaf node using sharp pruning shears. The best time for pruning is after the blooming period, usually in the late summer or early fall.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Aztec lily thrives in a well-draining, sandy loam with a slight acidic to neutral pH of 6.0 to 7.0. A mix of two parts peat, one part perlite, and one part loam is ideal for potting.

  • plantRepotting

    Aztec lilies should be repotted every 2 to 3 years or when the bulbs outgrow their current container.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Aztec lilies prefer moderate to high humidity levels but are adaptable and can tolerate lower humidity conditions common in most homes.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Aztec lily in bright, indirect light and keep soil moderately moist.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Aztec lily in partial shade with well-draining soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      8-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Sprekelia formosissima, commonly known as the Aztec lily, begins its life cycle as a bulb, undergoing a period of dormancy before sprouting. Once environmental conditions become favorable, typically in spring, the bulb sends up a stem and foliage leaves, gathering energy through photosynthesis. The plant then produces its striking red flowers, which are pollinated by birds or insects, leading to the development of seeds. After flowering, the Aztec lily enters a phase of senescence where the above-ground parts die back and the plant conserves its energy back into the bulb. Throughout the growing season, the bulb might produce offsets that can be separated and planted to grow new individuals. As temperature or moisture levels become less favorable, the Aztec lily reenters dormancy, with the bulb resting underground until the next suitable growth period arrives.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagation for the Aztec Lily (Sprekelia formosissima) is by separating offsets from the main bulb. The ideal time for propagation is when the plant is not actively growing, typically after the flowering has finished and the foliage begins to die back. To propagate, carefully lift the bulb from the soil, using a spade or hand trowel, and gently remove the small bulb offsets that have formed around the base of the parent bulb. These offsets can be immediately replanted in well-draining soil, at a depth of about 3 inches (7.6 centimeters). Water the newly planted offsets just enough to moisten the soil, and then wait for growth to appear, which indicates successful propagation.