More than 30 years ago, my grandmother gave me a cutting of a flower she called her ”surprise plant” because its stems are bare in the morning, but often are covered with pretty pink blooms by evening. Do you know what it is?
Your grandmother’s surprise plant is also known as zephyr lily (Zephyranthes grandiflora). Some gardeners may also know this as rocket flower, so named, because once the flower stems appear they grow and flower quickly and in quick succession. A tender perennial bulb (hardy in zones 10 to 11), this plant can be grown outdoors in summer but must move indoors for winter in most parts of the country. Store the dormant plant in a cool room for winter. Begin watering and move to a sunny window when plants begin growing in the spring. Move your zephyr lily outdoors for the summer and water often enough to keep the soil moist. Use a dilute solution of flowering houseplant fertilizer throughout the early part of summer. Cut back on watering in fall as the weather cools or leaves begin to yellow and dry. Move the plants indoors and start the yearly cycle once again.