Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 35 Crinum asiaticum

Common Names: grand crinum lily, poison bulb Family: Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis Family)
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grand crinum lily
The grand crinum lily's delicate blossoms are arranged in a cluster that can be 1 ft (0.3m) in width.


This big crinum lily makes an imposing presence in the garden. The dark green strap-like leaves may be more than 3 ft (1 m) long and 4 in (10 cm) wide. These are held erect and arranged in a spiral rosette to form impressive clumps up to 5 ft (1.5 m) in height by 7 ft (2 m) in width. The leaves emerge from huge bulbs that may weigh 10-20 lbs (5-9 kg)! Flowers are shaped like tubes that flair open into a crown of narrow petals. The flowers are white and are arranged in clusters atop thick, succulent stems.


Crinum asiaticum is native to tropical southeastern Asia. It is now a favorite landscape plant in Florida, the Gulf Coast, California and other warm climate areas.


Grand crinum lily is happy in just about any type of well drained soil. Light: It prefers bright sunny situations but will grow in part shade. Moisture: Provide average water. Crinum lilies do well in dry soils and are fairly drought tolerant. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11. You can grow this crinum in Zone 8, but foliage is killed by freezing winter temperatures. I have several of these growing in Tallahassee; they suffer some degree of cold damage every year but quickly recover their attractiveness in the spring. Propagation: To propagate crinums, dig up a clump and separate the small offset bulbs from the parent bulb. Plant these in pots or directly in the garden where they will quickly root to form new plants.
When the grand crinum lily is grown in Zone 8 the leaves are killed by freezing temperatures but the plant recovers quickly in spring. This photo was taken in mid-July - the plant is in bloom and has grown to 3ft in height.


Use the grand crinum to create a tropical mood near the pool or patio. Use like sculpture to create a focal point in the garden or in an expanse of lawn. This big lily looks great with palm trees and ornamental grasses. Their drought resistance make them useful in xeriscapes. It also does well in a container.


This impressive plant is easy to grow and requires little care. In many mild winter areas this is a common "pass-along" plant - neighbors sharing excess bulbs with one another. In addition to its beautiful form, the grand crinum is an enthusiastic non-stop producer of huge fragrant flowers (unless cut down by frost and freezing weather).


All parts of crinum lily may cause severe discomfort if ingested, and the sap alone can cause skin irritation.

Jack Scheper 12/20/98; updated Steve Christman 5/6/06, 4/20/11, 7/21/11

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Crinum species profiled on Floridata:

Crinum X powellii

( Cape lily, Powell's crinum lily )

Crinum asiaticum

( grand crinum lily, poison bulb )

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