Facts About The Crinum Lily
The Crinum lily also goes by the name Spider lily, and could easily be called the Monster lily (it isn't), due to the large size of its blooms. A tropical plant, this lily grows to a height of about 5 feet, with leaves nearly as long, and blooms which are described as being from "very large" to "huge". It is the long narrow petals of the flower which lend to it the name "Spider lily".
Look But Don't Eat - Like some spiders, the Crinum lily is poisonous, all parts of it. It can even cause allergic skin reactions to some people when handled. For that reason, you may give some thought where it would be best to plant it, but you shouldn't shun the plant entirely. The phrase, “beautiful but dangerous” (let's not say deadly) perhaps takes on some meaning. But most of the facts about this plant are truly very positive. Looking at various plant lover's forums, it is obvious that those growing the Crinum lily are highly satisfied, not only with the plant's appearance and fragrance, but with the fact that it is easy to grow and care for.
Requires A Warm Or Tropical Climate - The Crinum lily is a tropical plant, and can only be grown successfully in a relatively small area of the United States. It does well in Florida, for a few miles inland along the Gulf Coast, in the southern parts of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, and in much of California's coastal area, essentially USDA zones 8 or 9 through 11. If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where this lily will thrive, it is at its best in a tropical garden setting, and also especially attractive if accompanied by a ground cover which will tend to better accent the beauty of the blooms. The spidery flowers grow in clusters, which bloom continuously throughout the growing season. The cut flowers are of course extremely attractive though not particularly long lasting. For that matter, an individual bloom on the plant lasts only a few days, but the blooms are constantly being replenished. The color of the blooms can vary form white to off white, and from pink to rose to magenta.
Planting Considerations - The Crinum lily, like most lilies, requires moist soil to grow well, so it needs to be watered often enough that the soil does not dry out. Its watering requirements however are considered to be about average, and one does have to be a little careful not to over water the plant. It should be planted in either full sun or slightly filtered sunlight, but not in the shade, or deep shade. Bulbs should be placed in a hole whose depth is about twice the size of the bulb, and the hole filled with a good growing medium best combined with some of the surrounding soil. A growing soil featuring good water retention capabilities is a plus, as the soil will tend to stay moist, and you won't have to water the lily any more frequently than is needed for nearby plants.
Once the hole is filled in, it needs to be tamped down to eliminate air pockets, a potential source of disease, which may stunt the growth of the plant. Leaving a raised ring around the plant is also a good way to keep the soil surrounding the bulb sufficiently moist.
When you plant Crinum lily bulbs, the tendency would be to add fertilizer to get the plant started. This is not considered to be a good idea. The lily should not be given its initial dose of fertilizer for at least a month or two. Any generic fertilizer designed to encourage blooming should work fine. About the only on-going care needed is to periodically trim away yellowed leaves, and this is purely for aesthetic reasons.