NATIVE PLANT FOCUS| Texas Rain Lilies |Cooperia drummondii and Cooperia pedunculata
Emerging suddenly after a rain, the fragrant Texas rain lily is a delicate, graceful native wildflower. Dark green, grassy foliage is almost invisible in the landscape, providing an element of surprise when the star-shaped flowers quickly appear. Five to nine-inch-tall flowers begin to unfurl in the late evening and will be fully open by the next morning. Blooms may be white or tinged with pink, with the rose tint increasing as the flowers age. Enjoy waves of blooms following substantial rains from May to September.
Two species are native to Texas: giant rain lily (Cooperia pedunculata) and the smaller evening rain lily (Cooperia drummondii). Rain lilies are perennial plants whose blooms generate numerous black seeds which grow into tiny bulbs. As the bulbs mature more flowers are produced, spreading the plants over a larger area. When left undisturbed, rain lilies will produce a carpet of flowers and are easily divided and moved to new locations. These diminutive plants can even be grown in pots.
Rain lilies are an attractive border accent, used alone or combined with other small perennials. The plants are drought tolerant and thrive in full sun to part shade in almost any soil – whether clay, sandy loam, or sand. While they look delicate, rain lilies tolerate the extremes of Texas weather including our summer heat and unexpected winter freezes.
Sources of rain lilies include local garden suppliers specializing in native plants as well as on-line nurseries. Local Master Gardener or Native Plant Society plant sales frequently offer rain lily bulbs or plants for sale. Once started in a home garden, rain lilies will multiply quickly. This fascinating plant is worth searching for and adding and element of surprise to flower bed borders and containers.
For more information, read this interesting article from Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.
Find other beautiful Texas plants to add to the landscape with more Native Plant Resources.