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Crinum Lily

Q.Crinum lilies

Zone Burlington, WI | SuzyRyan added on October 1, 2016 | Answered

When in Florida several years ago, we found a couple of seeds. My husband brought them home, planted them in pots and for the next 3 years tended to these plants indoors. We finally determined that we have crinum lilies. This year, during the summer, we moved the pots outside and 1 of them bloomed. It’s beautiful. However, we live in zone 5. These plants are pretty large. We have 2 of them. Winter is fast approaching, and they will have to come indoors. But the pots are SO BIG. They’ll take up more room than I have to dedicate to them. I read that you can bring the bulbs indoors for the winter and plant in the spring. But they took 4 years to get this size. Isn’t there any way that I can mulch them really well, cover them, something and have them planted in the ground? If I cut back the plant and bring in the bulbs, will I ever get plants that bloom? Or did they take that long because we grew it from a seed? Are these like my canna lilies where I plant the bulbs in the spring and they grow large each year?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on October 2, 2016

There is one species, Crinum bulbispermum, that can survive in zone 5. Assuming you don't have that species, it would be difficult to protect your plants well enough in the winter, but you could try to put one in the ground as an experiment with lots of mulch and a tarp or other covering. However, it is possible to dig up the bulb and store it over the winter. I do think it would still be able to flower, because as long as it has stored enough energy in the bulb this growing season, it will have enough for the next. It probably did take 4 years only because it was grown from seed.

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