Fire Lily Cyrtanthus falcatus

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
falcate fire lily


The plant known commonly as Cyrtanthus falcatus has a distinctive aesthetic characterized by its strap-shaped, green leaves which form a dense clump, creating a lush appearance. Emerging from this verdant cluster are stems that carry trumpet-shaped flowers, which exhibit a bold color palette, generally in shades of red-orange or sometimes a deep scarlet hue, providing a striking contrast against the greenery beneath them. The blossoms have a slender, elongated look and hang gracefully, giving a sense of delicate elegance to the plant's overall structure. The flowers’ appearance is further accentuated by the flared, recurved petals, which beckon attention and invite pollinators. Despite the omission of its specific dimensions, the plant's visual impact comes from this combination of colorful, pendulous blooms and the robust leaf base from which they rise.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Sickle-Leaved Cyrtanthus, Curved-Flower Cyrtanthus

    • Common names

      Cyrtanthus falcatus

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Information on the toxicity of Cyrtanthus falcatus, commonly known as the fire lily, to humans is limited. However, as with many plants in the Amaryllidaceae family, they may contain alkaloids such as lycorine which can be toxic if ingested. Ingestion can potentially lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and in severe cases, irregular heartbeats, and convulsions. It is advisable to avoid ingesting any part of the plant and to seek medical attention if ingestion occurs.

    • To pets

      Cyrtanthus falcatus, commonly known as the fire lily, is considered toxic to pets, similar to other members of the Amaryllidaceae family. The plant may contain alkaloids like lycorine, which can be poisonous if pets consume parts of the plant. Symptoms of poisoning in pets can include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, lethargy, abdominal pain, and in more severe cases, tremors, seizures, or cardiac abnormalities. If you suspect your pet has ingested the fire lily, it is essential to consult a veterinarian 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

      South Africa


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Cyrtanthus falcatus, commonly known as Sickle-leaved lily, is appreciated for its attractive flowers and unique foliage to enhance garden aesthetics.
    • Low Maintenance: The plant is known for being easy to care for, requiring minimal attention once established.
    • Drought Tolerance: Sickle-leaved lily exhibits a high tolerance to dry conditions, making it suitable for xeriscaping and water-conserving gardens.
    • Germination Success: The seeds of Cyrtanthus falcatus usually have good germination rates, allowing for easier propagation.
    • Pollinator Attraction: The flowers can attract beneficial pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and birds, supporting biodiversity.
    • Adaptability: It is capable of growing in a variety of soil types, provided they are well-draining.
    • Seasonal Interest: The Sickle-leaved lily’s bloom time adds visual interest to the garden in its flowering season, often in late winter or early spring.

  • 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

    • Cyrtanthus falcatus, commonly known as fire lily, is sometimes used in floral arrangements for its striking red or orange blooms, which add a vivid splash of color.
    • The plant can be a source of nectar for certain species of hummingbirds and butterflies, thereby playing a role in the local ecosystem.
    • Fire lily bulbs have been used in certain cultures as a food source during times of scarcity, although this is not common and not without risk due to potential toxicity.
    • In landscape gardening, fire lily is utilized for its drought resistance and ability to add color to rockeries or xeriscapes.
    • Because of its unique flowering, the fire lily is sometimes used in botanical studies to understand plant evolution and adaptation to fire-prone environments.
    • Hobbyist growers may cultivate Cyrtanthus falcatus competitively for flower shows due to its showy and distinctive blossoms.
    • Its striking appearance makes the fire lily a popular choice for botanical art and illustration.
    • The fire lily is sometimes included in educational programs and botanical gardens for its ecological role in fire-prone habitats.
    • Some gardeners use the fire lily to create natural borders or edges in their gardens due to its upright growth habit.
    • In areas where the fire lily is native, it may be planted to help maintain regional biodiversity and support conservation efforts.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Cyrtanthus falcatus is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Cyrtanthus falcatus is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Cyrtanthus falcatus, popularly known as Scarlet River Lily, often grows in harsh environments, symbolizing the ability to endure and thrive despite difficulties.
    • Beauty in Isolation: As the Scarlet River Lily can often be found growing alone, it represents the beauty and strength one can hold even in solitude.
    • Rare Elegance: Given its unique appearance and less common occurrence, the Scarlet River Lily symbolizes a rare and refined elegance.
    • Passion: The vibrant red color of the Scarlet River Lily's flowers can symbolize deep passion and intense emotions.
    • Prosperity: In some cultures, blooming flowers represent growth and success, so the Scarlet River Lily could be seen as a symbol of prosperity.

Every 7-10 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The Fire Lily should be watered deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. In active growth periods, usually in spring and summer, this could mean watering approximately every 7 to 10 days with about half a gallon for a medium-sized pot, depending on the environmental conditions. During dormant periods, which occur typically in the late fall and winter, reduce watering to once every three to four weeks, ensuring the bulb does not sit in soggy soil which can lead to rot.

  • sunLight

    Fire Lilies prefer bright, indirect light, so placing it in a spot where it receives filtered sunlight, such as behind a sheer curtain in front of a sunny window, would be ideal. They can tolerate some direct sunlight, especially in the morning, but the harsh afternoon sun should be avoided to prevent leaf burn.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Fire Lilies thrive in temperatures between 60 and 75°F, which makes them suitable for most indoor environments. They can tolerate a minimum temperature of around 50°F during their dormant period in the winter, but should not be subjected to temperatures below this as it could damage the plant. They do not fare well in extreme heat; therefore, areas that consistently rise above 80°F should be avoided.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune the Fire Lily to remove spent flowers and dead or yellowing leaves, which encourages healthy growth and flowering. The best time for pruning is after blooming has finished, typically in the late summer or early fall. Pruning is not required very often, but monitoring the plant’s health and removing any unhealthy parts as needed is beneficial.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Cyrtanthus falcatus, commonly known as the Fire Lily, thrives in well-draining soil with good aeration, typically a mix of loam, sharp sand, and leaf mold or peat. The ideal pH for Fire Lily is slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. A recommended soil mixture could be one part loam, one part coarse sand or perlite, and one part peat moss or finely shredded pine bark.

  • plantRepotting

    Fire Lilies should be repotted every two to three years to ensure that the soil remains fertile and well-draining. It's best to repot them in the spring before the new growth begins.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Fire Lily prefers moderate to high humidity levels, generally around 50% to 60%, which mimics its native subtropical habitat.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright, indirect light and consistent warmth.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in dappled shade with shelter from strong winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Cyrtanthus falcatus, commonly known as the Sickle-leaved lily, begins its life cycle when a seed germinates, typically in well-drained soil with some moisture. Following germination, a small bulb forms and gives rise to thin, strap-like leaves and a fleshy stem. The plant enters a phase of vegetative growth, in which the bulb grows larger, and the plant accumulates resources. Once mature, the Sickle-leaved lily produces tall stems topped with tubular red or orange flowers, usually after a triggering event such as a fire or heavy rain. After pollination, often by sunbirds, the flowers develop into capsules containing seeds that, upon maturation, are released to the environment to begin a new cycle. The plant then goes into a period of dormancy, particularly in dry seasons, only to resprout when favorable conditions return.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • Propogation: The Cyrtanthus falcatus, commonly known as the Sickle-leaved Lily, is often propagated through the division of its bulbs, a process best carried out in the late summer after the plant has finished flowering. To propagate by division, gently lift the clump of bulbs from the ground and separate individual bulblets from the parent bulb. Each bulblet should have some roots attached. Replant these bulblets about 2 inches (approximately 5 centimeters) deep in well-draining soil, spaced at least 4 inches (about 10 centimeters) apart to allow for growth. The newly planted bulblets should be watered in lightly and allowed to establish in a warm, sunny location before the onset of colder weather. This method of propagation allows for the steady growth of new plants which will typically flower after a couple of years.