My landlord has this plant in his garden. (See pictures at the bottom.) I water it for him several times a week, using water from a closed well.

It doesn't usually rain here. There's maybe one or two periods of rain each year. The rest of the year we have a dry, tropical climate.

No matter how much I water it, this plant never flowers. I've tried copious amounts of water, frequent watering, etc. It doesn't matter.

However, when it rains, like it did this week, it only takes a few days for the plant to give these beautiful flowers. As far as I have seen, this rule never fails. The plant never flowers after being watered with well-water, but always flowers after rains.

What is the name of this plant?

We are in southern India. The plant may be native to this area, it might be native to somewhere else. I'm not sure. But it does fine here, except for the well-water thing.

As for why it only flowers after rain, that is not the purpose of this question, but people are welcome to mention that. I intend to ask it in a sepreate question once I have ascertained the name of the plant.

enter image description here

enter image description here

With a DVD for size comparison:

enter image description here

  • Maybe the nitrates in the rainwater? Good question! – matt. May 22 '16 at 19:26
  • @ᴉʞuǝ Interesting! I wonder what the name of the plant is. – Fiksdal May 22 '16 at 19:33
  • Not a definitive answer but very interesting to say the least: Because rainwater contains nitrogen in forms that plants can absorb, and plants need nitrogen to grow, farmers have noticed that rainwater stimulates more plant growth than water from other sources. – matt. May 22 '16 at 19:39
  • @ᴉʞuǝ Yes, that is a interesting, and a likely answer to my future question of why this happens :) – Fiksdal May 22 '16 at 19:50

This plant is Zephyranthes carinata, a bulb with the common name Rain Lily. There are lots of hybrids these days, but the reason they're called rain lilies is because they flower after rain. Some only flower once a year, and that is later in the summer/autumn, when the autumn or summer rains arrive, but some of the newer hybrids flower more often and do respond to watering. However, this one probably only ever intends to flower at certain times, and however much you water inbetween times, it will not force the flowering - that's programmed within the bulb itself.

More info here, though the picture in the link is not of this particular variety



I should have said, these plants require periods of drought, and when they flower in response to rain, its because the humidity is higher, which triggers the flowering response; that doesn't happen with you watering copiously, the humidity may increase a little, but not enough.


  • 1+, that is certainly the correct plant. I've seen this plant flower in many different parts of the year. It seems to only depend on rain, not on season. But the seasons are strange here. There's some temperature variation. The rainy season, though, comes at a different time each year. And sometimes there are small, unexpected rainstorms at various times. We just had one, and that caused this plant to flower. Anyway, I'm blabbering far beyond the scope of this question. I'm gonna ask another question later about what makes this plant flower. – Fiksdal May 22 '16 at 22:16
  • see update. I probably need to put the link in properly tomorrow, Im using my new tablet which doesn't allow copying a link, or at least I haven't found out how yet, only had it 6 hours! – Bamboo May 22 '16 at 23:08
  • Thanks :) As I said, I'm gonna ask a separate question about what makes it flower :) – Fiksdal May 23 '16 at 3:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.