Saturday, March 21, 2015

Giant Himalayan Lily

Cardiocrinum giganteum
A stately perennial that is native to wooded hillsides in the Himalayas ( from India through southern China; south into northern Burma ).
The huge leaves are up to 2.5 feet in length. The foliage is deep green.
Up to 20 greenish-white, funnel-shaped flowers, up to 6 inches long, may be borne on a spike which may be up to 12 feet high. The highly fragrant flowers are borne over a 2 week period during mid to late summer. It may take up to 4 + years to bloom.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 ( possibly 5 on a protected site where winter snowcover can be expected ) in partial shade on consistently moist, fertile, light, well drained soil that is mulched with leaf compost. While it prefers a maritime climate, it can still yield positive results in more humid summer regions such as the Mid Atlantic U.S. Direct sun will scorch the foliage where summers are hot. In hot summer climates, the Giant Lily may go dormant early during late summer. In regions where late spring frosts occur, it may be good to keep an extra blanket handy to occasionally drape over the plant at night. Cardiocrinums die after flowering though usually leave behind small bulblets at the base of the stem. These can be separated and planted during dormancy. The bulbs need to be planted shallow, preferrably with the top of the bulb even with the soil surface. Established plants intensely dislike root disturbance or being moved. Insect pest and disease problems are rare.

* historic archive photos

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