One of the best of all late summer flowering bulbs. The plants are expensive so don't waste your money unless you are able to provide a suitable warm, sheltered site.

Family: Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis family)
Botanical Name: Crinum (KRYE-num)
Common Names: Swamp lily, Cape coast lily

Foliage: Narrow, strap-like, bright green leaves. Deciduous (dies back after flowering).

Flowers: Short stout stems bearing a terminal cluster of trumpet-shaped flowers, which open in succession. Often fragrant.

Flowering Period: July-September

Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (chalk, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun. Best planted in a south facing aspect, in a sheltered location.

Habit: Upright, tufted.

Type: Bulbous perennial.


Hardiness: Slightly tender in the UK. Protect from frosts in colder areas.

Toxicity: Ingestion can cause mild stomach upset. Contact may irritate skin. Wear gloves when handling.

Planting and Growing Crinum

Grow in well-drained, moisture-retentive rich soil, in a sunny sheltered spot. Preferably in a south-facing border, against a wall or in containers on a sunny patio in summer.

Plant in April-May, at a depth of 6-8in (15-20cm). Ensure the necks of the bulbs are just below the soil surface.

Taking Care of Crinum

Water freely in dry weather. Mulch in spring every year.

Provide winter protection by mulching the crowns with compost or bracken. Bring container-grown plants inside during the winter.

Pests and Diseases

Usually trouble free.

Propagating Crinum

Sow seed under glass in spring at 70°F (21°C). Seedlings will take several years to reach flowering size.

Can be increased by offsets, however crinum dislikes disturbance so it's often better to just buy new bulbs.

Popular Varieties of Crinum

White and pink varieties are available.

Crinum x powellii is the hardiest form, producing tall stems of white flowers, flushed pink, in July-September. Height 2-3ft (60-90cm).

Crinum bulbispermum bears large flowers up to a dozen on each stem, white inside, red outside, from midsummer onwards. Height 12-15in.

Crinum moorei bears fewer, less colourful flowers on taller stems, sometimes pure white.