Zephyranthes candida

These 'storm lilies' (Zephyranthes candida, ht 15-25cm) come from Argentina and have grassy foliage and flowers rather like a crocus, and are easily grown in Sydney. In fact they are the only crocus-looking bulb most of us can grow, as generally Sydney's climate is too mild for real crocuses, which belong to the Iridaceae family of plants. Zephyranthes candida comes from the Amaryllidaceae family of bulbs, which on the whole do very well in our region.

They have papery white or (more rarely) pastel pink flowers, with thin evergreen foliage. They seem to come into bloom after rain has fallen, hence their common name, and several flushes of flowers can be expected if there a few periods of rain in late summer and autumn. They may even flower earlier in summer if there is a lot of rain. They form thick clumps and can survive in quite dry positions, such as at the base of a hedge, but will also cope with more moist positions. It is best if they dry out in late summer as the time approaches for their flowering period. They can be fertilised whenever you are doing the rest of your garden. They can be grown in a pot and do best with plenty of sun. Watch out for snails and slugs, which can wreck the flowers.

Flowers in January, February, March, December.