UH-OH, NOW I’VE learned that there’s another plant I didn’t think I could grow in my Northern garden, but it sounds like I can. Hello, Crinum lilies, you gorgeous size-XL bulbs that I thought were the domain of Southern gardeners only, and not for me.
A new book about them by Jenks Farmer is teaching me otherwise, and making me want to order some bulbs.
Augustus Jenkins Farmer, aka Jenks Farmer, is a longtime horticulturist and garden designer who’s former curator of Riverbanks Botanical Garden in South Carolina and author of a couple of previous books. These days, he is, true to his surname, also a farmer specializing in growing and selling Crinum lilies and a few other goodies from his organically managed 18th-century South Carolina farm. His new self-published book is called “Crinum: Unearthing the History and Cultivation of the World’s Biggest Bulb” (affiliate link).
Plus: Enter to win a copy of the new book by commenting in the box mear the bottom of the page.
Read along as you listen to the January 3, 2022 edition of my public-radio show and podcast using the player below. You can subscribe to all future editions on Apple Podcasts (iTunes) or Spotify or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts here).
crinum lilies, with jenks farmer
Margaret Roach: Hi, Jenks. How is it down there?
Jenks Farmer: It’s awesome. We thought we were going to have some cold, but today it is bright and sunny and about 50, 55, which is perfect Christmas weather for us—chilly enough to feel like the season, but warm enough to be in short sleeves.
Margaret: Yeah, do some gardening. In the book, you describe your crinum journey as a 30-year obsession. So for some of us non-Southerners who might not know crinum lilies first-hand yet, paint us a verbal picture. I think they’re related to amaryllis. And where are they native, and what are they like?
Jenks: O.K. The easiest way to picture a crinum is to imagine that Christmas amaryllis, but on steroids. So no, let me start over. Not all crinums are giant, but most of them that are really big and showy and flower waist to chest high. Those are the things that grab our attention.
Jenks: They have these big, strappy leaves. Some people say they look like corn leaves, but they all come out in a clump, so like that amaryllis like a daylily, but just bigger all the way around. Some of the crinum leaves can be as wide as my palm, so 4 or 5 inches wide and 5 feet long.
Margaret: Whoa. Where are they from originally? There’s different species of crinum, in the genus Crinum?
Jenks: Yeah. There are a lot of different species and they’re what we call “pan-tropical,” so every tropical humid climate around the equator.
Jenks: Yeah, in fact, we have a native one Crinum americanum, and there are Caribbean natives, but the ones that gardeners have really fallen in love with over the centuries are mostly from Central Africa.
Margaret: Oh, wow.
Jenks: The other interesting thing about them is that these are all plants that almost always grow along rivers, not in the river necessarily, but up on the stream banks. So they’re very tolerant to flooding, and especially in the South, that’s really important. It makes them very adaptable to coastal gardens, where they can tolerate saltwater flooding. But because they’re from the up on the bank, they can also tolerate long dry periods.
Margaret: Huh. That’s unusual, I would think, for a bulb, a geophyte as we would call a bulb, right, like this underground storage organ thing, that it can tolerate wet like that. I don’t think of bulbs as liking the wet.
Jenks: No, a lot of bulbs don’t and the typical spring bulbs, especially that we grow commonly in gardens, most of those bulbs are Mediterranean, so they really don’t like the wet, but these are more bog plants. In fact, there are even aquatic crinums. There’s one that’s very popular in the aquarium trade.
Margaret: Oh, what a crazy genus.
Jenks: Yeah. It’s not particularly pretty, so it’s not one that I grow, but I have because I have this desire to grow and try them all.
Margaret: Yeah. When do they bloom, or do they have a long bloom time? And what’s the color range of the flowers, and things like that?
Jenks: So when I tell people how to pick a crinum, I start with when its flowers are going to come on, because the flowers come at different seasons, depending on the cultivar or the species.
Jenks: In our climate, we’re in Zone 8, so we have crinums that start in March, and they look great through May, but then they’re totally ending and you don’t have anything but foliage on that plant for the rest of the summer. But then other crinums come on. So on our farm, the peak time is early June, where the farm is just a sea of pink flowers.
Then, there are a few that come on later, especially after fall rainstorms, we’ll get a few. But for the most part, they’re summer, and the colder you go, the more compressed that is, of course. So in like St. Louis, you would have almost all your crinums come on June and July.
Jenks: You asked about color of flowers, too.
Jenks: The color goes from pure white to rich burgundy-reds, and pretty much everything in between, including some fuchsia pinks and lots of soft pinks, as well as stripes of all different patterns. So some that are white-petaled with a pink stripe down the middle, and some that are white-petaled with a deep burgundy blood red stripe.
Margaret: Interesting. Now in your subtitle of your new book, you call it “the world’s biggest bulb.” Is it the biggest bulb? Some of the pictures in the book are hilarious, Jenks, with you holding an unearthed bulb [above]. The thing is a monster [laughter].
Jenks: O.K., Margaret, the title is meant to be a little bit provocative [crosstalk 00:07:52].
Jenks: You have to do a little bit of marketing. So if you were to search the web for what’s the biggest bulb in the world, then another bulb pops up, and you’ll see things that say, “This bulb gets up to 12 inches.”
Jenks: Well, I’m ready for the competition. I have a picture I took two days ago that’s a crinum bulb that has a tape measure wrapped around it, and it’s 26 inches around-
Margaret: Oh, my goodness [laughter]. That’s like an underground pineapple.
Jenks: That’s like the size of my head.
Margaret: Yeah. Wow.
Jenks: So I think there’s some definite possibility that it is the biggest bulb in the world, but it is a somewhat provocative title, it was meant to be. Then the question is also weird because I have crinums that are tiny, too. I have species of crinums, the American species, for example—the bulb gets no bigger than a golf ball, and the flower is only 14 inches tall.
Jenks: I grow an Indian species. It’s about 3 inches tall and it’s a real weirdo. I grow it in a pot because I’m fascinated by it. It’s about 3 inches tall, but it only flowers from 10:00 PM till about 8:00 AM the next morning.
Margaret: Oh my goodness. I guess you stay up that night.
Jenks: [Laughter.] No, no I don’t. But I get up early enough to see it.
Margaret: O.K. Oh, that’s good. That’s smart.
Jenks: All right. So there are other bulbs and there’s huge variation within the genus. So again, they go from 2 inches to 12 feet tall, if you get down into Miami gardens or Houston gardens.
Margaret: Wow. So again, as I said in the beginning, since I’ve been a gardener, I’ve known about them because some of our great catalogs in these decades that I’ve been a gardener are in the South and so forth and they would sell crinums. I thought, “Oh, that’s not for me,” but I knew what they were.
But over the years you’ve sent them, sold them, sent them, shared them with gardeners at zoos, botanical gardens, home gardeners in many different places, and that’s by matching the right species or variety that’s appropriate to the region. Is that kind of … ?
Jenks: Exactly. So when we say that we know today that crinums can be very cold-hardy, but it’s certainly dependent on the species. So for example, one of our earliest-flowering ones—it happens to be one of my favorites—is called the Orange River lily. Not because it’s orange, but because it comes from the Orange River in South Africa.
Jenks: O.K. So I have seen it in Copenhagen. I have a friend who grows it in Boston. Now, he works hard on his, so he’s a little bit out of the norm. But I have a friend in Connecticut who’s grown it as a completely hardy perennial that even sets seed and seeds itself in his garden.
Jenks: We have good friends at the Pittsburgh Zoo. I’ve sent crinums to them for years, and their crinum, there’s a beautiful shell pink called ‘Cecil Houdyshel,’ and that one’s grown in the gorillas exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo for a long time. [Above, Jenks Farmer’s husband, Tom Hall, in a field of Crinum ‘Cecil Houdyshel.’]
Margaret: That’s fun.
Jenks: I think this is really fun to learn what grows where, especially when we’ve made assumptions for most of my life. I, like you, thought, “Oh, these are Deep South plants,” but those assumptions simply were untested.
Jenks: I think one reason is they tend to be expensive bulbs. These are long-term plants. They’re, they’re slow to grow for the growers, and they’re slow to grow in a garden. So they’re investments in time, as well as money, so people have been reluctant to try them in colder places until the last 20, 30 years.
Margaret: That’s really the true truth with hardiness of anything. so many plants that when I began gardening, it said they were Zone 6 or 7, and now we know they’re Zone 5. But it was just that they hadn’t been distributed throughout the North as much, and people didn’t know, and there was no data, so to speak.
Jenks: Right. I doubt that crinums are ever going to become the peonies of the North, right? [Laughter.] They’re plants that really intrepid gardeners are going to try. There are plants of botanical gardens and zoos and people who are really into collecting are going to try, but you’re never going to see masses of them, at least I hope not. I really love that we can maintain regionality. I don’t even try to grow peonies here, because they hate our heat.
Jenks: I want to have the adventure, and I want to have the experience of seeing them spectacular, where they really want be. Does that make sense?
Margaret: Yeah, totally. But gardeners love to have some special treasures, and push things a little bit here and there. You said some are hardy in Miami. I bet you can’t grow those where you are, just like I can’t grow all the ones that maybe are your main-season ones, I probably couldn’t grow.
But I grow lots of tender bulbs that I, then, stash the pots in my basement or grow them as a houseplant or let them go dormant or whatever. Can some of them adapt to that type of culture?
Jenks: Oh, so what we do with some of the big tropical ones, they have brilliant -colored leaves, like fuchsia leaves or gold leaves [above], variegated. So I really want to grow those, but it’s too cold where I am to do it, so we grow them in pots and leave them outside all summer.
They’re really easy in pots, because crinums can tolerate drought. So if I forget to water for two weeks, and it’s O.K. In the fall, we cut back a good bit of that foliage and bring them into a garage or a barn where it’s not heated, but it’s protected enough that they’re fine. We just let them stay pretty dry in their pot, let them go dormant, and then take them out in the springtime.
But even the big tropical ones are often used as display plants and houseplants and interior plants—not so much here in the U.S., but you see that in Southeast Asia a lot.
Margaret: So I can grow some in pots up here even? Could I do that because I have lots of bulbs that I store in the winter, all kinds of non-hardy things, and could I do that to get started?
Jenks: You could definitely do that, and with the plan of taking them inside, if you have a basement or somewhere like that to store them in the winter.
Margaret: You should see my basement, Jenks, at this time of year [laughter].
Jenks: Do you not have room for the biggest bulbs in the world down there?
Margaret: Well, I’ve got so many bulbs down there it’s hilarious. But yeah, I could do it. Sure, absolutely.
Jenks: We’ll send you the little crinums [laughter]. Even into places like Baltimore, you can grow them in containers that you keep outside as long as you move those containers up against a warm house. So in the book, in my chapter on cold gardening with crinums, a fellow in Baltimore talks about how he brings his all up against the house, and he’s careful to let them stay dry. He leaves a couple of different species outside that way.
Margaret: Oh, I was interested just reading a book that not only are there different species appropriate for different regions, different climates, etc., but that you also plant the bulbs at different depths. Like you had this kind of illustration or whatever, so they’re not all the same. There’s such a range like you were speaking about earlier in bulb size and the depths you plant them out. Is there a general rule of how you-
Jenks: Even the size, even the shape of the crinum bulbs can differ. Some of them have a big basketball-like shape that we talked about earlier. Some of them have a golf ball-like shape, but some of them are just straight up and down and you almost wouldn’t recognize it as a bulb.
Some of them actually run, like they send out runners and they’ll colonize an area.
So the planting depth is completely dependent on the species, but most of them that we grow in horticulture, most of the big showy ones that people want in gardens, they need to be 12 to 15 inches deep. In colder places, they even need to be deeper. That sounds really deep, but remember, we’re talking about a bulb, like the bulbs that we ship, actually, come in there about 18 inches long, so-
Margaret: Wow. Wow. I think in the intro of the book, you describe the underground as a Medusa [laughter], the roots are so long.
Jenks: It’s so crazy. I don’t think I talked about this in the book, but we’ve dug crinum clumps that are 400 or 500 pounds.
Jenks: You have to chain it up and you have to pull the thing out with a tractor.
Jenks: That’s what I mean when I say Medusa, it’s like all these big bulbs clumped together. We call a mother bulb and then all these other bulbs-
Margaret: Right. Right.
Jenks: … that come off, so it’s a community. Then, they have big, thick roots. So unlike spring bulbs, which lose their roots at some point in their life. Every summer, spring bulbs lose their roots. They quit growing the roots die off and then they start growing again next year. But crinum roots never do that. Those roots continue growing, so you’ll have roots that can be 5 feet or really, really long.
Margaret: Wow. So they can be really big. They can be planted really deep in some cases and they’re very long-lasting, aren’t they? I guess that’s the thing about what I knew about them was that they were this traditional plant, and they were pass-alongs. They had just longevity. Let’s talk about that a little bit.
Jenks: That’s something that’s very important to me. I like horticulture history a lot, and I like my connections with my mentors, something I really value. They’re the people who inspire me and I am so happy and so lucky to have plants that actually belong to them.
So I have one crinum that I know is now 80 years old or more. I have many crinums that I grow and produce that came from one of my very important mentors who was involved in the specialty crinum societies around the globe. But they, on a general level, in old farm communities and rural gardens and backyard Southern gardeners, passed crinums around like crazy, because you can dig them up any time of the year.
So it doesn’t matter—you don’t have to say, “Oh, I’m going to come back and dig that thing up when it’s the right time.” You can get it when you’re there visiting with somebody. If you don’t get it in the ground, if you forget, if it stays in the trunk of your car for a couple of weeks, that’s all right, the crinum doesn’t mind. It can dry out and live above ground, dormant, for years, so it makes a perfect pass-along plant. Because they have that longevity, they tend to carry stories. I think that’s one of the things that always appealed to me.
Jenks: You’ll hear people, old gardeners around who are backyard gardeners, who aren’t going to read a book like this, but they know that plant, but they might know it as Aunt Sally’s Lily. I love the fact that they carry stories with them.
Margaret: Right. In the last couple of few minutes, I just wanted to say I noticed on your website and you do sell crinums as well as a few other things that you have some Eucomis, the pineapple lilies, which speaking of things that I have a lot of in my basement right now in the winter. So it seems like ones that I don’t know about that you have. So just a quick little minute pitch for some of the newer Eucomis, if you wouldn’t mind.
Jenks: O.K. So we are a farm, like you said in the beginning.
We grow everything in the ground. We’re an organic farm. Things are in rows. It’s just rows of lilies and rows of spider lilies, and now we’re doing more and more rows of pineapple lilies, which are such a great plant because you can do them in containers. They’re small, easy to take in in the winter, but there’s been a big interest in them as a florist crop.
Now, plants that are grown for florist crops, they’re not necessarily good garden plants so we’ve been buying these florist cultivars and trialing them. One of my favorites from the trials is one called ‘Coco.’ I have no idea why it’s named ‘Coco.’ I think it’s probably named that for Coco Chanel, because it’s a really dark leaf. It has a really dark flower, but it’s much more compact than let’s say, well, ‘Sparkling Burgundy,’ the old burgundy-leaf one.
Margaret: Yes. I have some in the cellar.
Jenks: Love that one. ‘Coco’ is like that, but it’s about maybe two-thirds of the size.
Margaret: Oh, interesting.
Jenks: Not only in the garden, but pineapple lilies make awesome cut flowers for the house. They last for months.
Margaret: Except for Eucomis bicolor [above, at Margaret’s]. Don’t use that one as a cut flower, because it stinks like dead meat [laughter].
Jenks: It is so smelly.
Margaret: But I love it anyway.
Jenks: I should say that about crinums, too. The one that I recommended, that Orange River lily, it’s a really beautiful one, tough as nails, but it’s a little unpleasant, too.
Margaret: So, yeah. So Eucomis—well, I just love them and I was excited to see that you have several that I’ve never even seen or heard of, so I might have to be placing an order for them [laughter].
Jenks: Actually, they make-
Margaret: Very interesting.
Jenks: We use them for rooftop plants, too. They’re a great rooftop plant.
Margaret: You’re kidding.
Jenks: Because of the low soil profile, they make a complete, very solid ground cover almost all summer.
Margaret: Wow. Who would’ve thunk? I had no idea. I use them in pots. Obviously, again, up here in the North, that’s what I do with them. They’re fabulous. Well, Jenks Farmer, I’m so good to speak to you and thank you so much for alerting me to the news of your new book, “Crinum: Unearthing the History and Cultivation of the World’s Biggest Bulb,” which I’m really enjoying. I’m excited about trying a new plant, so thank you.
Jenks: Thanks, Margaret. We look forward to seeing pictures from crinums in your garden this summer.
Margaret: O.K. [Laughter.] I hope I do a good job. O.K. Pressure, pressure! Talk to you soon.
Jenks: Thank you.
more from jenks farmer
- Visit his website
- The assortment of Crinum in his online shop
- His recent essay on “Garden Rant” about being labeled as “the Crinum guy”
enter to win a copy of ‘crinum’
I’LL BUY a copy of Jenks Farmer’s “Crinum: Unearthing the History and Cultivation of the World’s Biggest Bulb” for one lucky reader. All you have to do to enter is answer this question in the comments box farther down the page:
Did you know about Crinum lilies, or have you ever grown one? Tell us.
No answer, or feeling shy? Just say something like “count me in” and I will, but a reply is even better. I’ll pick a random winner after entries close at midnight Tuesday, January 11, 2022. Good luck to all.
(Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
prefer the podcast version of the show?
MY WEEKLY public-radio show, rated a “top-5 garden podcast” by “The Guardian” newspaper in the UK, began its 11th year in March 2020. In 2016, the show won three silver medals for excellence from the Garden Writers Association. It’s produced at Robin Hood Radio, the smallest NPR station in the nation. Listen locally in the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA)-Litchfield Hills (CT) Mondays at 8:30 AM Eastern, rerun at 8:30 Saturdays. Or play the January 3, 2022 show using the player near the top of this transcript. You can subscribe to all future editions on iTunes/Apple Podcasts or Spotify or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts here).
Never heard of them but definitely would love to give them a try! I’m in 7a so pretty sure I can pull this off.
Excellent interview , Margaret! Crinums have been an obsession of mine for decades, fascinating for their beauty and drama, and especially for their story.
Some thirty years ago, I found myself traveling all over the South to old nurseries and comprehensive newer ones in an often fruitless search for the elusive Crinum. Wherever I found one with a few of these treasures, inevitably I would be asked,, “Do you know Jenks Farmer? He was just here. He’s seeking out all the classic crinums for a major botanical garden collection where he is the director.”
I wrote about this early encounter with the name of- I thought- the only other crinum fiend in the world in a piece for Weekly Hubris in 2013…(WeeklyHubris.com, August 2013, “Online Porn and the Particular Gardener”)
Since then, of course, if you seek out Crinums you will come across Jenks and his labor of love.
Go ahead and order yourself some crinum bulbs. Don’t expect, however, to receive fro most sellers anything like the “big bulbs” you see in Jenks’s pictures.. . .it takes years to grow those beauties and few nurseries will wait that long to sell a bulb. Jenks does, of course, take those years and ordering from his farm will restore your faith (and joy!) in humanity.
Thank you, Margaret, for a delightful- as well as informative- interview.
Wow! Something new and exciting in the new year! Would love to try one
How interesting, Margaret, and what a great podcast! I’ve HEARD of crinum somewhere but have never seen one (I think) or even considered buying them before, so I hope to WIN! WIN! WIN!
If so, I live in zone 5B and promise to coddle & take good care of my new treasure and then we can see how it does in my neck of the woods. Thanks again for teaching me something new!
Loved reading this podcast print and am so inspired to try one. I live in Florida, zone 9B and am familiar with crinums mostly in highway medians. I admit I never liked them as they look very raggy, probably from lack of care. Now I’m inspired and am challenged to find a place in my small yard for a small one that would still have room for its roots to stretch. Thank you for introducing me to its beauty. Loved your podcast, very informative.
Sounds like an invasive species to me.
Not invasive at all. The bulbs grow in clumps and have been treasured throughout the South for many years.
Most do not even set seed. The natives ones do of course. They have been in the US in mass since the 1700 and have yet to be invasive. That could change of course.
I am intrigued! I’m new to gardening in zone 8 (learned all I know in NJ and Michigan) and would love to try this crinum this year
Count me in!
I have many pink lilies but had never heard of this one. Looks fascinating.
Yes, I live in AZ 9a, and I have one growing in a pot. It has red and white striped blooms. I put it in the greenhouse over winter. I didn’t realize that they got that big. I had thought about buying more online, but they are pricey. Maybe for my birthday…
Thanks John. Its alway nice to satisfy intellectual curiosity about plants we cant grow at home. Im fascinated by the tree cactus and cherish a trip to Haiti where they grow on the coast.
I have known Jenks Farmer as a near-by neighbor and close friend since the early 90’s. We have exchanged crinum bulbs, spider lily bulbs, and various plants throughout that time. Not only is he an avid gardener, he is the real deal. Jenks has taken his family’s SC farm and turned it into a wonderland of crinum beds which he opens to the public throughout the year. He is a true avid gardener who thrives on sharing his knowledge of plants while remaining deeply rooted as someone that everyone wants to be friends with. I await the arrival of his newest book, which will share shelf space with his other life-inspiring books of wisdom.
Interesting Plant Species. Just knowing about them would be very rewarding. Growing some in zone 5 would also be rewarding.
Thanks for the good podcast.
Crinums are a favorite of mine. They are a pass along bulb. Oft times no one knows what the proper name is. It’s the pink crinum we admired in your yard, and you were kind enough to share.
Ive heard of them but never grew them…until now!
I own a couple of colors of the larger variety, but didn’t know how many different varieties there were until this podcast. Thank you for enlightening me!
Yes I have a few crinums and recently purchased a few from Jenks. He is a wealth of knowledge. Not just about crinums and his farm is so magical.
I have to admit that I was only half-listening to this podcast until Jenks mentioned Cecil Houdyshel. Since that is a name that you can’t forget, I knew that he was an important nurseryman and breeder during the first half of the twentieth century because his catalogues are mentioned several times in Katherine White’s “Onward and Upward in the Garden” and again in her published correspondence with the Southern garden writer, Elizabeth Lawrence (“Two Gardeners-A Friendship in Letters). I’m pretty sure I’ve also seen his name in Eudora Welty’s letters (I know she grew roses. I don’t remember if she grew crinums). Hearing Houdyshel on the podcast, I did a quick Google search, and found little but the location of his gravesite and a link to his 1927 catalogue which it turns out is lots of fun to read.
A timely quote from the catalogue:
Perhaps you too love beauty. The matter of producing it interests you. because you know civilization is a little sick just now and beauty is an antidote for evil.
Oh, Hal, what a quote that is! And thank you for the literary citations.
I used to live in Milford Ct and was a member of the garden club there for years.
Have since moved to Winchester Va and bought a house with lots of outdoor garden space. Soil is very different down here clay clay clay! The first spring we moved in (2020) I noticed next to our shed and behind some HUGE overgrown hydrangeas these huge thick leaves popping up . I thought maybe there were daffodils or something like it . It turned out to be crinum leaves and they were being “smothered “ by the hydrangeas. Long story short we dug out the hydrangeas and then the crinum began to bloom. Wow. I was so shocked. Some of the ladies here called the plant an Resurrection Lily. Anyway I dug out the bulbs and separated them and replanted them all over. Second spring they are still adjusting to the switch but I am hopeful. I enjoyed the podcast . I hope that the crinum will grown for you in CT. Thank you!
Like Kristen. I have not tried growing this glorious Crinum lily. I do save , store and repot Amaryllis bulbs . Zone 7. They should love it here in the mountains of North Carolina . Thanks for the opportunity to win the book.
I grew Crinum ‘Ellen Bosanquet’ (from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs) years ago in a pot (here in Dutchess County, NY). It flowered the first year I got it but then did not in the next couple of years after, so I stopped growing it (wasn’t crazy enough about the lanky leaves). It seems I should’ve tried it in the ground. Or maybe I did? Anyhow, you’ve got me thinking of trying some in the ground now. In related news, I saw a HUGE Crinum in a HUGE pot inside a clothing store in Rhinebeck about a month ago. Did I mention HUGE?
Was it HUGE, Mark? I wasn’t certain… :)
We’re talking Little Shop of Horrors…..sort of.
I can speak for the longevity of Crinum Lilies. There is a beautiful white Crinum lily on Cumberland Island National Seashore. It is planted by the back porch of the Carnegie mansion built in 1898. Since the 1970s this mansion (named Plum Orchard) has been maintained by National Park Service where the large lily can be seen by visitors.
I am intrigued. having never been aware of these lilies. Please enter me in the drawing.
Count me in. I have 2 crinums that survived being under water after hurricane Harvey. My amaryllis didn’t make it but the crinums sure did. Thanks for the info. I’ll check out the different varieties.
Memories… I grew a fairly large variety for sale at out Botanic Garden (greater Los Angeles area). Donated bulbs with no ID. Impressive size – yes! Loved putting them out for sale at plant stands and having people do a double take. Set them on ground and were hip high. In 3 ga. plastic pots (though they tried to explode out the sides – in our dry climate. I called them hardy.
I had never heard of them before, but I’m fascinated. Thank you for this wonderful interview and giveaway.
What gorgeous lilies crinums are! Questions: for Farmer Jenks-do those voracious Red Lily Beetles go after these?; for Margaret-I use Neem oil on my oriental lilies which helps, but I can barely keep up. What do you use? I’ve switched to some of the glorious varieties of day lilies for new plantings, instead. We’re in the same zone as you are (we’re in the East side of the Mid-Hudson Valley).
I hand pick the beetles and actually try to get them early when they are emerging, and then squich eggs that they lay too. I spoke about it with a scientist doing work on them a few years back.
I grew a stand of craniums at my previous home in Conway, SC and when I tried to dig a piece up, I broke my little shovel! So, alas, the craniums are still there ( I hope!). I keep trying to get the courage to ask the new owners if I can try again with a stouter shovel!
I’m a MG in zone 5b and would love to try one of these beauties. I store dahlias, cannas, and plant containers with tulips so why not these lovelies. I’m thinking I could make quite a statement in my curb appeal. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of this new book.
I have heard of the lilies, but have never grown them. I live in the Baltimore area and summer in Dartmouth, Ma.
I found it interesting that someone else in Baltmore has grown them and lilies. and found that they can leave the the poted lilies next to the house during the winter. I think I would like to try growing at lest one THUS WAY.
I came across an unknown plant in a client’s border and found out it was a Crinum. Happy to know we can dig them anytime as we will be overhauling her border in the spring. It seems to be deer proof as there are plenty banqueting every day around there.
As a zone 6 gardener I never thought I could grow these. I am excited to give them a try.
Interested in the Crinum Lily. I live on the Susquehanna River in Falls, PA and have mostly shade in my yard because of 80 to 90 foot maples around my house. I have 20+ Hostas. Wonder if these lilies would survive. Sure would like to try them.