03 Apr

National Flower of Zimbabwe: Flame Lily


The stunning red and yellow of the flame lily makes it especially prominent in the savannahs and warm regions of Southern Africa. Zimbabwe made the flame lily the national flower thanks to its prolific growth throughout the country as well as its notable beauty.
Zimbabwe National Flower Flame Lily

The Flame Lily of Zimbabwe

The large national flower of Zimbabwe is lovely as a cut flower but even prettier in its natural setting. The flame lily is a climbing lily that can reach heights of eight feet using soft tendrils to reach out to higher locations as it climbs. The flame lily can be found in the semi-shaded regions of the savannah and the state flower is especially fond of rocky outcroppings in the natural areas.

The bright flower of the flame lily combines red and yellow petals. The red of the flame lily features curving petals that form a loose ball shape. As the red petals taper back toward the green leaves and stem, they become yellow around the edges creating a bright yellow ring around the radiant center. The base of the bloom has the pistil and stamen circling the flower around the bottom much like clock hands.

The National Flower of Zimbabwe

The blossoms of the flame lily can reach as much as five inches across in their full state of fiery bloom. The large blossoms and thick stems of the flame lily make the plants especially popular with floral designers in tropical arrangements. The bold colors and the creeping nature of the plant make it just as lovely in the wild Savannah or in a carefully cultivated setting.

Growing Flame Lilies

growing flame lily zimbabwe national flower
Flame lilies grow from a bulb, and the flowers are very susceptible to cold weather. The bulbs should be planted after any chance of a freeze is past with the bulb on its side; the growing tip two or three inches below the ground. The soil for the flame lily should be well drained and be sure to locate the bulbs near a growing surface such as an arbor or trellis as the flame lilies grow on a climbing vine.

Once planted, the fire lily bulbs will double each year without a freeze increasing the number of large beautiful blossoms in your garden. The flame lilies are excellent for cutting flowers, but not cutting the flowers will increase the size of the plant as it continues to grow.

33 comments on “National Flower of Zimbabwe: Flame Lily

  1. Heather Deighan on said:

    This is my first visit to this site. I am Irish and live in Fremantle, Western Australia.

    How fascinating that the first national flower listed is the Flame Lily!

    In February of 2010 I was given a most precious Flame Lily Silver and Enamel brooch. Hand-made perhaps 50 years or more ago in the then Rhodesia. The brooch belonged to beautiful woman, whom I had the pleasure of knowing before her death almost eight years ago. She worked for many years as a Missionary in Rhodesia. I shall find out where exactly and on seeking permission from her family give some details.

  2. admin on said:

    Heather, thanks a lot for your nice comment. 🙂

  3. I would like to know if anybody could help me find Flame Lily bulbs. My husband was born in Salisbury and would dearly like to cultivate them.

  4. admin on said:

    Probably it would be reasonable to try to find somebody on Zimbabwe’s websites…

  5. Walter on said:

    I live in Cape town and bought some bulbs just this weekend.

  6. Hi Walter
    From where did you get these bulbs?

  7. Hello all,
    I live in the 58 Paralell in Canada where temperatures of 35 below in winter are nothing new and I found and grew flame lilies this summer! Most of the bulb suppliers sell them as the glory lily or gloriosa rothschild

  8. Hi,

    I was also raised in Rhodesia, (1972-1981). 2 years ago I found Flame Lily bulbs from a nursery in Florida. The bulbs did not work so I will try again. It seems there are more place to buy them in the US now, also on ebay and amazon.

  9. Check out my new flower!!! It’s beautiful!

  10. farai mapfumo on said:

    Thank you all. Iam a Zimbabwean by birth and i have recently formed my company in U.K AND IT IS named ZIM FLAME LILY FLOWER LTD. Gone are the days i used to climb those beautiful rocks covered with those hot flame lily flowers.

  11. Susan Dewhurst on said:

    The World Association of Flower Arrangers (WAFA)are holding their flower show in Boston USA this year 2011.
    They have chosen as their emblem the flame lily

  12. Delene McGeoch nee Boshoff on said:

    Hi This is the most interesting site, I am Zimbabwean and will be talking about Zimbabwe at church on Sunday and I was looking to buy Flame Lily Flowers, but I can’t find any…. We went to Maurittius and went to look at the cemetry where Napoleon was buried, you wouldn’t believe it, amongst the unkept graves stood this magnificent Flame Lily, it always warms my heart when I see one, even just photos or paintings of the flowers… thank you for sharing this site with us, my heart aches for Zimbabwe.. God Bless Delene.

  13. Karen Franklin on said:

    Hello: I enjoyed your website with its beautiful flame lilies. I lived in Zimbabwe for 11 years and fell in love with these flowers. I am hoping to grow my own soon as my climate is similar to Harare’s. Keep up the good work!

  14. Mike Matthews on said:

    I live in Cape Town, having grown up in Rhodesia, and I was recently given some Flame Lily seeds (not bulbs). I plan to pot them during about September, when Summer begins. Would anyone in the know be able to tell me if this is the best time?

  15. Mike – why don’t you contact Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and aks them?

  16. ask!

  17. Heather P on said:

    I purchased Flame lily bulbs from a stall holder at Yungaburra market, north Qld in June this year.He lives locally. Hope this may help.Yungaburra is near Atherton.

  18. Hi All,

    We have a flame lily in our backyard. Only came to know about it recently since it flowered after a long time. we considered this plant as a weed and every spring after rainy season we used to chop it down. Thanks for the lovely info, If you have this bloom cherish and enjoy it, since it seems to be very hardy.

  19. Daniel T on said:

    you sound so interesting. would love to meet you, send us an email address

  20. I didn’t hw much of a treasure a Lily is,until recently.Looking for them since it’s summer but can not find them anywhere in Bulawayo

  21. Pauline on said:

    Its great to know that my country Zimbabwe is still beautiful because of a flower flame lily being admired by a lot, thanks to nature!

  22. Eileen Rabe on said:

    Hi would like to know where to purchase this plant in Cape Town area.
    many thanks

  23. Bill Sorby on said:

    FlameLillies – I grow them in my garden in South West Wales. Where are you based?

  24. Lin Goncalves on said:

    To Clive, in Bulawayo – I am growing Flame Lilies in Harare – they are all in FULL bloom now – and the tubers are ready to move around July/August or later, so if you want a couple, get in touch with me….

  25. The South African bulb company Hadeco stocks the Flame Lily, I bought some in November and they are growing in the garden in Johannesburg. I think they ship bulbs around the world. http://www.hadeco.co.za

  26. Trevor on said:

    I am in N.Z.and used to live in South Africa.I have looked all over for a Flame Lily and have recently acquired a young plant.Cannot wait to see its progress in our rather wet climate.Has anyone grown one in a climate similar to ours.

  27. Joan Nolan on said:


  28. Penny Smith on said:

    Hi Trevor

    I live in Auckland and my flame lily has just started flowering – 3 buds – yellow ones grow wild up North on my sisters farm. I bought the plants off Trade Me a lady in Muriwai. I am sure they will do fine with the wet weather.

  29. John Farmer on said:

    I was born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and always loved the bush especially during the rainy season when the flame lily was in flower. We have them growing in our garden here in Toowoomba, Quensland and this year they are outstanding after two years of good rains. A neighbour has a deep purple coloured variety and I am working on getting a tuber from her!!!

  30. Iris Papadopoulo on said:

    My daughter brought me Flame Lily bulbs from Amsterdam. We live in Athens Greece and I will plant them in a flower pot this weekend. I hope they do well in this climate.

  31. Mark Gedye on said:

    I bought some bulbs at the Melbourne Garden show some years ago. They die down in the Melbourne winter and become dormant but can be grown indoors to become a metre high plant

  32. I am from Zimbabwe myself so when ever i see that flower i get a warm feeling in my heart and it brings back all the memories.

  33. Rory-Taylor on said:

    This was the RHODESIAN national flower, when Rhodesia was killed off, Zimbabwe should have taken on the Blackjack as their national flower (sp. Bidens pilosa)

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