Fairy lily is one common name name given to numerous species in the Zephyranthes, Habranthus, Cooperia and other closely related genera of the amaryllis family. Common in Southern fields and lawns, they are also often called rain lily, rainflower or zephyrlily. Most are toxic if ingested.
These perennial bulbs bloom suddenly after rain breaks a dry spell, displaying delicate, low-growing six-petaled flowers that may be yellow, pink, white, orange or red, depending on species. Hardiness varies by species, but most can grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 11. Once established, these plants require little care.
Choose a location for your fairy lily in full sunlight or partial shade, with rich, well-draining soil with a pH that is slightly acid to neutral. If you are planting multiple bulbs, provide at least 3 inches of space between bulbs.
Water generously to induce flowering after a dry period. If you do not provide supplemental watering during a drought, fairy lily will go dormant and lose its leaves until conditions are moist again.
Dig up and divide large clumps of bulbs with your shovel every two or three years in winter, when the plant is dormant. Divide clumps so that each division has three or more bulbs.
Check the tops and undersides of leaves for snails and slugs in the evening, when these pests are most active. Remove and destroy any you find.