Crinum asiaticum
Common Name: poison bulb 
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Native Range: Tropical Asia
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11. Bulbs are easily grown in consistently moist, organically rich, fertile soils in full sun to light shade. This plant is fairly tolerant of brief periods of drought. Freezing temperatures in winter will kill the foliage of this evergreen plant. Winter temperatures determine best planting strategy: (A) Where winter hardy, plant bulbs in a moist soil in spring for year round outdoor growth. Plants will spread over time to form large colonies. (B) Where marginally winter hardy, plant bulbs in a protected location (e.g., southern exposure) in moist soils in spring for year round outdoor growth and mulch with evergreen boughs, hay or leaves over winter. (C) Where not winter hardy, plants are usually grown in containers which are planted outdoors in spring after last spring frost date and then dug up and brought indoors prior to the first fall frost date for overwintering in a cool sun room. Plant bulbs in pots/containers that are at least two inches larger in diameter than the bulbs. Bulbs like to be pot-bound. Set each bulb in a pot with the neck exposed. Keep soils moist and fertilize regularly during the growing season. Bring containers inside in fall before first frost for overwintering in a frost-free location. Return containers to the garden after last spring frost date. Propagate by offsets, division or seed. Outdoor plants spread in the garden by suckers to form substantial clumps.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Crinum asiaticum, commonly called giant crinum, is a tender perennial bulb in the amaryllis family. It is native to tropical southeastern Asia, but has been widely cultivated in tropical to subtropical areas around the world. It has escaped cultivation and naturalized in parts of Florida, Louisiana and California.

Fragrant, long-tubed, 6-petaled, lily-like flowers (each to 4” wide and long) with tubular corollas bloom summer to fall (sometimes year-round in warm winter locations) in large umbels (each having 20-30 flowers) atop thick leafless succulent scapes rising from the foliage clump to 4-6’ tall. Flowers are white, but sometimes are striped with red or tinged with purple. Each flower has six long protruding stamens with red filaments. Strap-shaped, parallel-veined, evergreen leaves (each to 4’ long and to 5” wide) form a spreading basal clump. Crinum bulbs are huge (10-25 pounds each) with tapered necks.

Genus name comes from the Greek word krinon meaning lily.

Specific epithet is in reference to the plant being native to Asia.

Problems

Grasshoppers may chew on the foliage. Mealy bugs, nematodes, slugs and snails are occasional visitors. Anthracnose. Watch for leaf scorch in sunny locations.

Garden Uses

Moist areas of the landscape. Pond peripheries. Borders. Foundations. Near pool or patio. Containers which must be brought indoors in winter in areas where plants are not winter hardy.