Friday, July 2, 2010

The Cemetery Lily

When a person speaks of a Cemetery Lily, an image of a Calla Lily usually comes to mind. But in The South, the term Cemetery Lily refers to a Crinum Lily.

The Crinum belongs to the Amaryllis family. It can withstand drought, poor soil, scorching heat and the native Swamp Crinum Lily even enjoys soggy soil. Yet, despite what Mother Nature (and Man) throws at it, this hardy bulb will provide years and years of blooms. The Crinum will have long strap-like leaves with multiple blooms borne on a stalk. The blooms are quite fragrant, especially as evening draws nigh.

Crinum originally migrated to America via ships arriving from South Africa and other tropical areas. It adapted well to the Southern climate and was planted around homesteads and grave sites. Today, these Crinum can still be seen blooming.

There was a surge in popularity in the 1920s and again in the 1950s, with many new varieties being bred. Preferring hardiness zones 8-10, some Crinum will survive to zone 5-6 with mulch. All Crinum can be grown in a pot if enough room for bulbs and roots are provided. For more info go to The Bulb Society .


  1. What a beautiful lily! I'd have to did them out if I wanted to plant them here.

  2. Those are lovely. Wonder how they would like the NW....and my squirrels that like to transplant my bulbs! :D


  3. How lovely!! I sometimes envy the plants that grow in the south, but when I see how some have become huge invasive problems, I'm thankful that we can't grow them here. .of course, as we get longer and warmer seasons, their range will continue to grow.

  4. Oh how wonderful!!! I have dozens of these only mine are Pink. I would love to have one of the white spider ones. I never knew this story! I'm going to send you a picture of my pink ones and see if you think it is the same kind of Lily!