Crinums

Pink crinum flowersOne of the many bulbs that work in Florida, crinum lilies are a hallmark of Southern gardens and have been cherished and cultivated by gardeners for years. Plus, there are several species and dozens of varieties available.

Characteristics

Crinums produce fragrant flowers that gently nod atop 3- to 5-foot stalks and come in a range of whites and pinks, depending on the species and variety. Plus, the straplike, evergreen foliage provides year-round interest in the yard.

Crinums work well in the Florida landscape because of their easygoing nature. Many crinums have been known to grow for years on old home sites or cemeteries with little or no care. They are resistant to drought, although some also don't mind having their feet wet. Crinum americanum, also called swamp lily, is a Florida native and works great on the banks of ponds and streams.

Planting and Care

Plant your crinum in partial shade for best results, though they will grow just about anywhere. They are equally at home in dry sandy soils and on moist pond banks.

Another perk of crinums is that they are easy to divide, so you can add crinums to other areas of your yard or to pass them along to a neighbor. Be aware that it may take a few years for the plants to reflower. Crinums are best divided in the winter when they are not actively growing. Dig around the clump, lift it, and then remove several offshoot bulbs. Just be careful, as some crinum bulbs can weigh up to 40 pounds!

Although they are generally easy to care for, crinums do have a few enemies. In some cases, crinums can be affected by red blotch fungus or crinum mosaic potyvirus, which causes yellow streaks in the leaves. Spider mites can sometimes be a problem. Eastern lubber grasshoppers.

For more information on crinums, contact your county Extension office.