Crinum 'Ellen Bosanquet'

Common Name: crinum 
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Wine red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant


Bulbs are easily grown in organically rich, moist, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. North of Zone 8, plants are usually grown in large containers and brought inside in winter. Plant bulbs in pots/containers that are at least two inches larger in diameter than the bulbs. Bulbs like to be pot-bound. Set bulb in pot with the neck exposed. Keep soils moist and fertilize regularly during growing season. After bloom, reduce watering so that soils dry out between waterings. Bring containers inside in fall before first frost for overwintering in a cool, dry, frost-free location. Propagate by bulblets in spring. Increase watering in spring as plant shows signs of new growth. Although plants can technically be grown in the ground in St. Louis by planting the bulbs in late spring and lifting them in fall in somewhat the same manner as for dahlias, this is generally not considered good practice because crinum roots do not like to be disturbed and once disturbed plants may not bloom for another 2-3 years. It should be noted that some gardeners have been able to successfully this crinum hybrid year round in the ground as far north as Zone 6 with a good winter mulch and protected location, however the risk of loss is ever present. When grown in the ground year-round in southern gardens, it will spread to form colonies.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Crinum lilies are tender perennial bulbs in the Amaryllis family. Lily-like flowers (to 4” wide and long) bloom in clusters in summer atop leafless scapes (to 3-4’ tall) above a clump of strap-shaped green leaves. Flower colors in whites, pinks and reds. Most flowers are fragrant. Crinum bulbs are large and taper into elongated necks.

Genus name comes from the Greek word krinon meaning lily.

‘Ellen Bosanquet’ is an old but very popular hybrid whose parentage was never revealed. It was hybridized by Louis Bosanquet in Florida in the period of 1915-1920 and was named after his wife. Bell-shaped, wine red (rose-purple to red-purple) flowers are noted for having a spicy fragrance. Flower scapes typically rise to 3’ tall.


Mealybugs, nematodes, slugs and snails are occasional visitors. Bulb rot. Leaf scorch.


Borders, containers. Good accent. Good cut flower.