Crinum lilies make a wonderful addition to the southern landscape. They make a statement with their large showy flowers and strappy green foliage. Plants range in size from two to five feet tall and two to five feet wide. Maybe that is why crinums are known as the classic southern pass-along bulb.
Crinum lilies thrive today untended in cemeteries, country gardens and abandoned home sites where other plants have long been gone. The bulbs for sale average between a pound and two pounds in weight but an old bulb may weigh twenty pounds or more. Crinums are very adaptable members of the family Amaryllidaceae which also include lycoris, allium, rain lilies, agapanthus and more. The long-necked bulbs produce flowers intensely in sunny locations during summer and continue year after year. Foliage is spirally arranged, coarse and open.
Locate crinum lilies in groups, spacing plants 4 to 6 feet apart. Plant them in fall or spring, burying the bulbs up to their necks. The coarse, draping foliage may appear unkempt, at which time the crinum plant can be trimmed, removing bottom leaves for a tidier appearance. They have been used for a short, growing hedge in locations where blooms and fragrance can be enjoyed.
Crinum produces enormous flowers atop long stems in colors ranging from white, to pink and red including several striped varieties. Many of the summer flowers are wonderfully fragrant. They thrive in dry or moist soils and are drought-tolerant. They prefer a location with full sun and produce more flowers if well-watered. Faded flowers can be easily removed by snapping or cutting them off.
Crinum lilies have been described as being tough as a mule. They are also low maintenance plants that make a commanding architectural statement in the garden. Some think of crinum bulbs as a way for your grandchildren to remember you. If you plant a crinum lily today, it should still be flowering long after you are gone.