Cardiocrinum giant lily
Height 1.8-3m (6-10ft)
Planting distance 90-120cm (3-4ft)
Flowers in mid and late summer
Deep rich, moist
Bulbs available late autumn
There are few more majestic sights than the giant lily (Cardiocrinum giganteum) when it raises its robust 1.8-3m (6-10ft) tall flower stems topped with clusters of long trumpetin mid and late summer. The fragrant flowers are creamy-white, streaked with purple or crimson inside the trumpet and up to 15cm (6in) long. The leaves are equally impressive -dark green and heart-shaped and as much as 50cm (20in) long; they are arranged in a spiral along the flower stem.
Giant lily is monocarpic which means that it dies after flowering, but it leaves behind two or more offset bulbs which in turn will reach flowering size after about three years.
Giantthrive at the edge of woodland or planted among low-growing shrubs which will offer protection against spring frost and excessive summer heat; they will also grow in any cool, lightly shaded position where the soil is deep and moist but well-drained and rich in organic matter. Set the bulbs, shallowly, with their tops just level with the surrounding soil; space them 90cm (3ft) apart.
Lift the flowered bulbs in mid autumn, discard the old collapsed bulbs and replant the offsets im-mediately. Leave undisturbed until they reach flowering size.
Pests and diseases