More Information About Ammocharis
The genus Ammocharis is small, containing just 6 species all native to sub-Saharan Africa. Ammocharis is in the Amaryllidaceae family which makes it a botanical cousin of amaryllis, crinum and narcissus. Some species are winter dormant, and others are summer dormant. Although most of the species are not cold hardy, one, Ammocharis coranica, is native to the high plains of South Africa and has potential in the southeastern US. Ammocharis coranica has 1' tall leaves and 18" flower stalks that produce a cluster of over a dozen fragrant, red or pink flowers arranged in a sphere at the top of the stalk (much like agapanthus, allium or scadoxus).
Ammocharis coranica is drought-tolerant and will go dormant during dry spells. Like its cousin the rain lily (Zephyranthes), Ammocharis coranica will respond rapidly to watering by growing new leaves and blooming. Gardeners can stimulate 3 or 4 separate flowering events with properly spaced irrigation. In its native habitat it often blooms after a fire, but that does not mean you have to burn your backyard. Water alone is enough to trigger flowering (Perhaps you could fertilize it with liquid smoke and see what happens!). Ammocharis coranica is flexible about its growing conditions and in the wild occurs in sandy soils and clay. Try pairing Ammocharis coranica with other Cape plants such as scadoxus, zephyranthes, or habranthus to create a little slice of South Africa in your backyard.