Crinum Lilies are Amaryllis

In some parts of the US, a Cemetery Lily is a Peace Lily but in the South, if someone talks about a Cemetery Lily they mean a Crinum Lily. Crinums stand up to heat, drought, rain and most soil types, all the while blooming for decades without care.

Like other Amaryllis, Crinums have strap-like leaves and produce multiple, fragrant flowers on each stalk. During their heyday in the 1920s and 1950s they were planted around homesteads and graveyards and many of those are still thriving. 

Originally from Africa, Central and South America, they are only cold hardy as far north as zone 7 where we live. Even here they can be vulnerable in cold years so apply a protective layer of organic mulch. Crinums do not need to be divided, 

Bulbs planted now will bloom next year. I’m tucking some in this month to give them an early start in warm soil. 

Crinum Lilies want full to part-sun. They do not need fertilizer but will not be harmed by receiving some nutrients if you are fertilizing an entire bed. Other than Swamp Crinums (Crinum americanum), most of them prefer good drainage.

According to the best Crinum choices for our area are
Crinum bulbispermum, Crinum moorei and Crinum powellii. Crinum bulbispermum is the most cold hardy and they can also be grown in containers and as houseplants. 

Lilies have been grown for thousands of years, appear in Egyptian hieroglyphics, in several passages of the Bible, in Renaissance paintings, as part of the Anglican crucifix, and are the centerpiece of many occasions from weddings to being the symbol of a 30th anniversary. In Buddhism, lilies symbolize mercy and compassion.

I ordered from two companies this week. 1) Sign up for the newsletter at before ordering to get a discount code by email. They have bundle deal of 5 Cecil powellii Houdyshel bulbs. Jenks will soon offer a red and white Oklahoma Crinum. And, 2) At the sale bulbs you order now will ship in the spring.


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