Crinum x powellii

Height: 60-90cm (2-3U)

Planting distance: 30-45cm (1- 1/2ft)

Features: flowers summer to autumn

Soil: rich: moist, well-drained

Site: sun, shelter

Type: bulb

Any gardener wanting to introduce a subtropical feci to a sunny part of the garden should consider planting Crinum x powellii, the hardiest member of the crinum family. It is not the easiest bulb to grow, demanding mild conditions and frequent tidying up if it is to look at all presentable. But perseverance is rewarded with an exotic display of white or pink, lily-like flowers from late summer to early autumn.

Cultivation

Grow crinums in clumps in a sunny position protected from north and east winds – perhaps at the base of a wall. They also flourish in containers on sunny terraces. Find somewhere they can be left undisturbed.

Plant the bulbs in late spring in rich, moisture-retentive but well-drained soil. Set them 30-45cm (1-1 1/2ft) apart with their necks at soil level. Water freely during the summer, then ease off in autumn.

Keep container-grown crinums almost dry during the winter, when they should be moved to a frost-free place. Protect young shoots from frost with a light mulch of bracken, peat, composted bark or straw.

Propagation: Crinums prefer not to be disturbed. You can propagate them by removing offsets in early spring and replanting. However, these will take three years to develop into flowering plants.

Pests and diseases: Trouble free.

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