Crinum lilies are not lilies at all. Just as rain lilies, crinums are amaryllis.
Called graveyard lilies, country lilies, criniums, and by their variety name Milk and Wine. These gigantic Crinum bulbs from the southern hemisphere have migrated to the U.S. over many generations making their way into southerners' hearts and gardens.
|Crinum bulbs from Dutch Touch in Olathe Kansas|
Wilfred Wiering of Dutch Touch said, "The ones we sold at the Tulsa Home and Garden Show are Crinum powelii. They grow in the field in Kansas City where I live. I do not fertilize them but you'd have a better plant if you did."
Crinum bulbispermum is said to be the most cold-hardy and the parents of C. Powelii are C. bulbispermum and C. mooreii according to http://www.crinum.us/pow.htm so I'm optimistic.
|Crinums at an old home site from A. L. Sisk at http://www.crinum.us/|
Their legend is large: Roundup won't kill them, they bloom under fallen-down houses, survive burn piles, and the bulbs grow to the size of basketballs and have to be removed with front-end loaders.
They will take full sun and part shade, wet or dry places, all the while blooming. Best planted in the spring or fall, the bulbs are planted above the round part, with 6-inches sticking out above ground.
|Crimun Liberty Bells - Marcelle's Crinums East TX|
Keep them blooming by removing faded flowers. Their best range in the U.S. is no farther north than the mid-south though many gardeners much farther north say theirs do beautifully in a microclimate with winter-mulch.
|Crinum Walter Flory - Southern Bulb Company|
Fertilize in the spring with composted manure or 13-13-13.
North Carolina State Univ recommends
Bradley (24"; deep wine/pink)
Creole (30"; white with red stripes)
Elizabeth Traub (48"; dark rose pink)
Ellen Bosanquet (24"; reddish purple)
Walter Flory (40"; pink with burgundy stripes)
C. americanum (white/red stamens)
C. scabrum (white/crimson stripes)
C. macowanii (white/rose lines on back; 5')
C. moorei var. schmidtii (white)
C. bulbispermum (more frost tolerant; white, pink, wine)
C. moorei (solid rose, pink, white)
C. x powellii 'Album' (white)
C. scabrum (white/ red stripes)
On the topic of hardiness zones for these beauties, Plant Answers from Milberger's in San Antonio has an amusing and thorough discussion of all things Crinum - plus an article about bulbs in general. If you have time to be amused, click over to http://www.plantanswers.com/crinum.htm.
In the meantime, I just hope those big boys thrive in our zone 7, sunny location and live up to their reputation. So exciting!