In the late summer to early autumn Haemanthus coccineus makes a rather dramatic entry. From the bare ground it pushes up it flower, a brilliant orange red paint brush on a short stem. For this alone they are worth growing. And the large floppy foliage that follows is an attraction in itself through winter.
A few nurseries are begining to call these plants ' elephant ears' for the large foliage, however this creates a little confusion with other plants, we will stick with the 'Paint Brush Lily' or Ox Tongue Plant.
They are originally from South Africa, if you can keep them dry in summer, and well drained in winter then Haemanthus coccineus are worth the effort.
Large red to orange brushes are actually an inflorescence made up of many small flowers, the red petal like structures that surround the 'brushes' are a membranous spath, really an intriguing plant.
The foliage will appear in winter and this is where the problem lies, the winter frosts can knock it over. so in terms of care care a frost free patio might do, a greenhouse would be better.
We read about planting these with some of the bulb above the soil, not what we have found at all.
- Try a container with a free draining potting mix.
- Full sun.
- Plant below the surface and keep dry in summer, well drained but moist in winter, and no frosts please.