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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Giant Crinum Lily (Crinum asiaticum)

By Staff | Dec 3, 2014

First impression: Exotic spiderlike shaped flowers in casein white petals. The blossom is supersized about the size of your fully extended hand. The violet and lavender filaments are finger length and threadlike in their diameter. Its long-stemmed dark green leaves resemble the shape of a banana plant. All growth starts at the base and the flowers are on their own stiff stalk. What a showstopper, any tropical plant aficionado would take a second look!

You can see this giant amongst lilies strutting her stuff and blooming at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: Giant Crinum is an evergreen bulbous herb that hails from tropical Asia. It is grown for its beautiful tropical flowers. Blooming, this tropical plant is a must for cut gardens, with flowers off and on throughout the year.

The large substantial flowers are held above the leaves by extra tall stiff stems. They are an explosion of slender bright white soft petals, with multitudes of these large flowers on one flower stalk. Their slender thin filaments are shades of violets and lavender color. Mature plants can have double digit flower stalks, which makes for oodles of blossoms. WOW!

All over the world, florists love to utilize our star in really beautiful arrangements. In the garden our plant is a naturally shaped shrub with banana-shaped leaves and spidery-shaped flowers accenting the top.

The most common question I receive about our star is how do you prevent grasshoppers from making them the menu of the day? In my garden I recycle coffeegrounds, mix them in a bucket with water and pour them on my lilies and roses. This helps not only to organically amend the soil, but also the nibblers are deterred by the smell and/or taste. Coffeegrounds, newspaper and mulch are supersmart ways to amend any garden soil. Proper planning to create a natural garden habitat will reward you with healthy plants that don’t continually need fertilizing fixes.

Our star is in the easy-to-care category, for everything connects at the big-bulb base. Cleaning can be done to remove brown and damaged leaves and flowers. Babies will appear around the bases and can be used other places. Maximum height for this fast grower is 4-5 feet tall, which makes it perfect for patios with a view. You may plant in full sun or filtered shade, and well-drained soil. It is a noninvasive exotic with little or no pests or diseases.

You now have a choice with either white flowers or a purple form called Queen Emma. It will be hard to resist this great tropical garden addition with its supersized flowers that bloom off and on all year round. You will love it!


Gorgeous as a flowerless shrub

Does well in full to partial sun

Doesn’t need lots of attention

Babies can be planted other places or share with neighbors

Use up old coffeegrounds

Salt tolerance

Gynormous blossoms

Salt tolerant


Pollinators love it!


Needs to be cleaned periodically

Grasshopper magnet – nonnative.

Conclusion: We can’t grow too many lilies in this here neck of the woods, but the ones we can grow — we grow BIG! You won’t need your glasses for this giant among lilies in our tropical, eye-catching garden.

Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!