May 17th, 2007
Crinums Gone Wild

Zanthan Gardens: Crinum bulbispermum

I don’t know for sure whether the crinums growing in the meadow are Crinum bulbispermum or not because I rescued them from a construction site several years ago. They have glaucous (grey-green) leaves and the flowers are not as showy as the other crinum I have (which I think is Crinum gowenii). C. bulbispermum is said to bloom earlier than other crinums and these began blooming on April 16th after a wet spring. (Last year, one bloomed in late June–so go figure.)

The first had medium-sized flowers with a pale pink stripe.
Zanthan Gardens: Crinum bulbispermum

The second one to flower was pure white. The third one had a shorter stalk and smaller flowers. But the stripes were dark pink.

Zanthan Gardens: Crinum bulbispermum

As the seeds form, the stalk becomes top heavy causing it to fall over a distance away from the mother plant. The seed pods are larger than a golf ball but not quite as large as a tennis ball.

Zanthan Gardens: Crinum bulbispermum

When the seed pods burst open, the seeds (called stones) fall to the ground, and if it is damp begin sprouting. This huge collection of seeds was obtained from just two stalks. Notice the ones sprouting?

Crinums take up a lot of space so I don’t know what I’m going to do with all these seeds.

by M Sinclair Stevens

8 Responses to post “Crinums Gone Wild”

  1. From Pam/Digging (Austin):

    They definitely look like stones. There were a bunch of crinum lilies at the Bridle Path garden on the tour last weekend, but they had just finished blooming, so I missed them.

  2. From Annie in Austin:

    It’s extremely interesting to see the seeds, M–I wonder if all types of crinum [and amarcrinum] make such enormous seeds?

    Two of mine bloomed last year, but I cut off the top of the bloom stalk to prevent such goings-on so don’t know what mine would look like. I’m just as mean to the Amaryllis, daylilies, daffodils, hyacinth, true lilies, etc., only allowing the Oxblood/Schoolhouse lilies and the Cooper’s lilies to fulfill their biological destiny.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    And do you get any seeds on the oxblood lilies? Scott Ogden says they’re sterile although I have one variety that sets seeds under some conditions. I’ve even gotten them to sprout–none big enough to flower yet. — mss

  3. From Julie (Austin):

    I can’t remember ever seeing these plants before moving to Texas. At first I thought they were horribly garish, now I think they are wonderfully garish. That shot of the seed sacs is fabulous.

    Do you think they could survive out in West Texas? I’d love it if you whould share a few seeds with me.

    I’ve saved some from the pale pink striped one and planted seven of the largest ones (some were sprouting). You can have all the rest if you want. I’ll email you. — mss

  4. From Annie in Austin:

    M, when you gave them to me last fall, I was more concerned with them staying alive than reproducing, so my remark was more about the decision not to cut off the fading flowers on these lilies. I’ll try to pay attention this year and see if any seeds result.

    The zephranthes don’t seem to make seed but the closely related Cooper’s lily make quite a few.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  5. From Pam (South Carolina):

    Those seed pods are amazing. I had no idea. I have several crinums, but they haven’t gone to seed – I need to check on the specific ones that I have and pay closer attention this year. I do enjoy them.

    Several of them I kept have sprouted. It will take several years to see what kind of flower the seedlings produce…if I can keep them alive that long! — mss

  6. From Sara:

    My crinum seeds are sprouting and I’d like to try potting them to see what happens. What type of soil/growing conditions do they prefer?

  7. From T Yates:

    You could always list the seeds on ebay, or send them to me. If you don’t want to mess with the seeds cut them off. They are bulbispermum crinums; you can tell by the grey green leaves. Bulbispermum multiply by seed & very slowly offset if there’s a bit of some other crinum in the background.

  8. From Sandy Aschenbrenner:

    A friend of mine got a Crinum offset from her now dead Aunt. The original plant was white with a dark pink stripe like ‘Milk and wine”. The bulb she got has only bloomed white for the 10 yrs she has had it. Any idea what would cause this? I notice this is from 2008 but hope this is still active.

    I would love your extra seeds if you don’t want them.

    Crinums like lots of water and lots of feeding and plenty of sunlight. They will grow and grow without these things but they really need them to flower. — mss