Blood lily Scadoxus multiflorus subsp. multiflorus

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
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The common name for Scadoxus multiflorus subsp. multiflorus is blood lily, and it is known for its striking appearance. The plant boasts a bold, spherical flower head, which is actually a cluster of many small flowers. These flowers are typically a vibrant red or orange-red color, giving the plant its common name due to the blood-like hue. The flower head is perched atop a single, sturdy stem that emerges from a base of broad, green leaves. These leaves are lush and have a slightly wavy or rippled edge, contributing to the plant's overall tropical look. The intensity of the red in the flowers and the lush green of the leaves create a dramatic visual contrast, making the blood lily a popular ornamental plant in gardens and as a cut flower in arrangements.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Blood Lily, Football Lily, Powder Puff Lily, Blood Flower, Katherine Wheel, Oxtongue Lily, Torch Lily.

    • Common names

      Haemanthus multiflorus, Haemanthus multiflorus var. multiflorus, Haemanthus multiflorus var. katharinae, Scadoxus multiflorus.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Blood Lily is toxic to humans if ingested. All parts of the plant contain poisonous substances, including alkaloids and glycosides. Symptoms of poisoning may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and in severe cases, irregular heart rate, and seizures. Ingestion can potentially lead to serious health consequences, and medical attention should be sought immediately if ingestion is suspected.

    • To pets

      The Blood Lily is also toxic to pets. Similar to humans, all parts of the plant contain toxins, which can affect cats, dogs, and other animals if ingested. Symptoms of poisoning in pets may include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, ingestion can lead to heart rhythm abnormalities and seizures. The consumption of any part of the Blood Lily by a pet should be treated as an emergency, and veterinary care should be sought immediately.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Its striking spherical flower heads with bright red florets make it a popular choice for ornamental gardens and as a cut flower.
    • Habitat Enrichment: Provides natural habitat and food source for pollinators such as bees and butterflies in the garden ecosystem.
    • Educational Interest: Can be used in botanical studies and educational settings to teach about bulbous plant species and their growth habits.
    • Cultural Significance: Known by its common name "Blood Lily," it may have specific cultural or symbolic value in certain communities or regions.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it can tolerate periods of drought, making it suitable for xeriscaping and water-wise gardens.
    • Seasonal Interest: Adds vibrant color and visual interest during its blooming season, usually in spring or early summer.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Scadoxus multiflorus subsp. multiflorus, commonly known as the blood lily, has been traditionally used in some African cultures for medicinal purposes.
    • The bulb of the blood lily contains alkaloids and has been used in folk medicine for the treatment of edema.
    • It is also reported to have been used for its diuretic properties.
    • The plant has been used in preparations intended to treat certain skin conditions.
    • In some traditional practices, it has been applied to wounds to possibly aid in healing, although the efficacy and safety of such uses are not well-documented.
    Please note that the use of this plant for medicinal purposes is based on traditional practices and not well-supported by scientific research. The consumption or use of blood lily for medicinal purposes is potentially dangerous and is not recommended without the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Blood Lily, as Scadoxus multiflorus subsp. multiflorus is commonly known, is sometimes used in rituals and ceremonies in some African cultures due to its striking appearance.
    • The bulbs of the Blood Lily contain a sap that is sometimes used as a glue for fixing pottery and small objects in some African tribal communities.
    • The plant is often cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens and homes for its large, striking flower heads.
    • Blood Lily can be used in educational settings such as schools and botanical gardens to teach about plant biology and taxonomy due to its unique characteristics.
    • In some traditional communities, the dried seeds of the Blood Lily are sometimes used to create jewelry or adornments.
    • The vivid red color of the Blood Lily's flowers can serve as an inspiration for artists and designers looking for natural color palettes in their work.
    • Photographers and nature enthusiasts may utilize the Blood Lily as a subject for photographic projects due to its visual appeal.
    • Horticulturists and plant breeders can use Blood Lily as a parent in hybridization efforts to create new ornamental plant varieties.
    • Some cultures use the impressive bloom of the Blood Lily as a natural symbol for commemorating special occasions or marking seasonal festivities.
    • The plant can serve as a food source for certain pollinators like butterflies, thus supporting local biodiversity when planted outside.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Blood Lily is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Blood Lily is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Exotic Beauty: With its striking globular cluster of red flowers, the Blood Lily represents a unique and exotic beauty that stands out in any setting.
    • Mystery and Drama: The Blood Lily's dramatic appearance and relatively rare occurrence in gardens give it an air of mystery and theatrical flair.
    • Resilience: The Blood Lily is known for its ability to survive and even thrive in adverse conditions, symbolizing resilience and the ability to overcome challenges.

Every 7-10 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Blood Lily should be watered thoroughly, allowing the soil to become slightly dry between waterings. During active growth in spring and summer, water approximately once a week, providing about 16 ounces of water each time, depending on the size of the pot and the environmental conditions. Reduce watering in the fall and further in winter to encourage dormancy, when once every two to three weeks might be sufficient, always checking the soil moisture before adding water.

  • sunLight

    Blood Lily thrives in bright, indirect light. It's best to place the plant in a location where it receives filtered sunlight, such as near a window with sheer curtains or in a room with eastern exposure for gentle morning light. Avoid direct sunlight, especially during the hot afternoon hours, as it can scorch the leaves of the plant.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Blood Lily prefers warm temperatures and does not tolerate cold well. The ideal temperature range is between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive a minimum temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but growth may be stunted. Avoid exposing the Blood Lily to temperatures below 50 degrees or sudden temperature changes.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Blood Lily to remove spent flower stalks and yellowing leaves to promote a tidy appearance and encourage new growth. The best time to prune is after flowering or when foliage starts to decline. Typically, it does not require extensive pruning; do so sparingly and as necessary to maintain plant health.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Blood lily thrives best in a well-draining potting mix consisting of peat, perlite, and pine bark fines. An ideal soil pH for this plant is slightly acidic to neutral, around 6.0 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Blood lilies should be repotted every 2-3 years or when the bulbs begin to crowd the pot and the growth of new foliage seems reduced.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Blood lily prefers high humidity, ideally between 50-60%, to thrive and bloom optimally.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place blood lily in bright, indirect light and keep the soil moist.

    • Outdoor

      Grow blood lily in dappled shade; protect from direct sun and frost.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Scadoxus multiflorus subsp. multiflorus, commonly known as blood lily, begins its life cycle as a dormant bulb which, under suitable environmental conditions, sprouts and produces a shoot. The shoot grows into a single stem with a rosette of lance-shaped leaves. As the plant matures, it produces a distinctive spherical flower head, called an inflorescence, atop a leafless stalk during spring or early summer. Each inflorescence consists of numerous small flowers, which can be pollinated by insects, leading to the production of berries containing seeds. After flowering and seed set, the plant enters a period of dormancy, where the leaves die back and the bulb survives underground. During the next suitable growing season, the cycle begins anew with the bulb sprouting fresh leaves and, eventually, a new inflorescence, thus continuing the perennial cycle of the blood lily's life.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for the Blood Lily is through dividing its bulbs. This typically occurs when the plant is dormant, usually in the fall. Carefully lift the clump of Blood Lilies from the soil and gently separate the bulbs, ensuring that each division has at least one growth point. These bulbs can then be immediately replanted in well-draining soil at a depth of approximately 2 to 3 inches (about 5 to 7.5 cm). Water the newly planted bulbs sparingly until signs of growth appear, as excessive moisture can cause rot. This method is straightforward and allows gardeners to quickly multiply their collection of Blood Lilies.