Started by Jeron Chamberlain, August 22, 2022, 09:59:11 PM

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Jeron Chamberlain

This is my first time growing a Crinum.  California's Central Valley isn't exactly prime Crinum territory as far as I understand it.  I received a bulb from the BX last year and planted it last summer.  It grew well and overwintered in the ground.  I covered it with leaves and put up a structure to keep the rain off.  I don't know if all that was necessary.  This summer I mulched it with some manure (chicken and steer from a certain big box store), as I read that this made them bloom.  Attached are the results.  This is Crinum 'Ellen Bosanquet'.  It started blooming on Monday this past week.


Hello @Jeron,

Congratulations! You have a very nice result and a healthy looking plant. Shriveled leaf tips are normal for most Crinum. Your plant looks unaffected by virus which unfortunately is not always the case with Crinum.
I cannot comment on the winter protection, maybe someone from a similar climate can help?

Bye for now 

Algarve, Portugal
350m elevation, frost free
Mediterranean Climate



I grow a couple of  Crinums here in Northern NJ.  They are in the ground all winter. I think they a bit tougher than we think.

The bulbs will dive down to get away from cold temps.
Arnold T.
North East USA


Since I've been thinking about getting a Crinum thread running, this may be a good start to see if there's interest.

I've been growing 'Schreck' for a few years and this season it made a great display, three spikes over about 6 weeks.  (Picture posted here, blooming June/JulyIMG_2760.jpg IMG_2763.jpg .) Presently, it's one of a few in pots that I've decided to try.  I've been convinced to try C. bulbispermum in a protected location in the ground and will be placing that shortly.

Looking through some of the old posts, many over 10 years ago, I thought it might be nice to copy and reopen some of them that have particularly good information on hardiness and general cultivar selection.  Dr. Jim Waddick, Jim Shields, Tony Avent and Jay Yourch all had great things to say to help new growers.  (All mentioned here, please let me know it's not ok to copy your posts and bring them into the present.) If there's any interest, with a little time, it could get going.

At this point, and to add to the present post, from what I understand 'Ellen B." will be perfectly hardy for Jeron.  Apparently, many C. bulbispermum hybrids can be grown easily in Zone 7 and quite a few will make it in Zone 6.  

So who's growing Crinum? what cultivar or species? and where? in containers or in the ground?  

Interlaken, NY Zone 6-ish


Hello Michael,

Good idea to start a Crinum thread!
I have grown Crinum X Powellii for very many years in Germany near Hannover which is probably zone 6b (can be prolonged down to minus 20 degrees centigrade, but not every winter) The US zoning is difficult to apply for Germany.
I found two disadvantages of this old hybrid: it produces a huge amount of foliage of which the tips are often torn and yellow. And many of the commercial bulbs are virused. It is worthwhile discarding these and buy a new one hoping for a better outcome. This applies especially to the white forms of which many inferior bulbs are circulating.

Crinum bulbispermum is probably as hardy but slower to form a clump under these conditions.

Algarve, Portugal
350m elevation, frost free
Mediterranean Climate


On the "winter year 'round" side of San Francisco, I'll be turfing out all my Crinums[1] this season, they seem to want some real summer warmth...along with the Rhodophiala and Lycoris.  And I should dig up the label and figure out what that thing that grows leaves like a low Agapanthus, only without any sort of flowering.

who is about to go on a little seed finding excursion that just happens to be on a county road where the temps will be HOT.

[1] Nothing special, just random things I picked up to see if they would make it in the summer water bed. There are some Dieramas waiting to go into those spots.


Have these in the ground in N New Jersey for over 20 years.  No additional protection.
Arnold T.
North East USA


Here is Tony Avent's list of Crinum that have been hardy for him.  Dr. Jim has a few more, as does Jim Shields.  Since 2004, I think Yourch has introduces even more that have exceptional hardiness.  Two others which appear to have hardiness (old posts and personal communications from Jenks Farmer, Jim Waddick, and White) have been 'Super Ellen' and 'Glory', x bulbispermum backgrounds.  Tony's list is a big deal.  I wish it would excite more people into growing these plants.  I'll keep digging around to add a few more names.

Interlaken,  NY Zone 6-ish

Hardy Crinum List
Tony Avent (Thu, 24 Jun 2004 04:33:13 PDT)

I'll see your crinum list and raise you another list. All of these have
been winter hardy for us to at least 5 degrees F (-15 degrees C). We've
added many new species and clones not included here this spring to our trials.

Latin Name
Crinum 'Alamo Village'
Crinum 'Birthday Party'
Crinum 'Bradley'
Crinum 'Cape Dawn'
Crinum 'Carnival'
Crinum 'Carolina Beauty'
Crinum 'Caroll Abbott'
Crinum 'Cecil Houdyschel'
Crinum 'Claude Davis'
Crinum 'Elizabeth Traub'
Crinum 'Ellen Bosanquet'
Crinum 'Emma Jones'
Crinum 'Fancy Pants'
Crinum 'Fay Horn Buckel'
Crinum 'Flamingo'
Crinum 'Garden Party'
Crinum 'H.J. Elwes'
Crinum 'Hannibal's Dwarf'
Crinum 'J.C. Harvey'
Crinum 'Lorraine Clark'
Crinum 'Magenta'
Crinum 'Maureen Spinks'
Crinum 'Maximillian'
Crinum 'Mrs. Horace Kennedy'
Crinum 'Mrs. James Hendry'
Crinum 'Mystery'
Crinum 'Ollene'
Crinum 'Parfait'
Crinum 'Regina's Disco Lounge'
Crinum 'Rose Parade'
Crinum 'Royal White'
Crinum 'Ruth Dubuisson' clone
Crinum 'Saint Cristopher'
Crinum 'Sangria'
Crinum 'Schreck' clone
Crinum 'Southern Belle'
Crinum 'Stars 'N Stripes'
Crinum 'Summer Nocturne''
Crinum 'Sundance'
Crinum 'Twelve Apostles'
Crinum 'Vera Cruz'
Crinum 'White Queen'
Crinum 'William Herbert'
Crinum (bulbispermum x macowanii)
Crinum amabile
Crinum americanum
Crinum amoenum
Crinum bulbispermum
Crinum bulbispermum 'Frances Marion Galloway'
Crinum bulbispermum 'Sacramento'
Crinum x digwidii
Crinum erubescens
Crinum japonicum
Crinum moorei
Crinum moreii 'Mediopicta'
Crinum moreii 'StarBurst'
Crinum powelli 'Rosea'
Crinum x eboracii 'Pecan Tree Inn'
Crinum x herbertii 'Blockade Runner'
Crinum x powellii 'Album'
Crinum x powellii 'Great White Prince


I meant to ask, are you on the coast?  Zone?  It's great to see these growing this far up in the States.


There was Marcelle Sheppard in Texas who did a lot of breeding. I remember magnificent pictures of her plants. I do not know if hardiness was one of her criteria to select for, perhaps not an issue in Texas? I also do not know what happened to her collection and her nursery but it might be worthwhile looking into that.

Algarve, Portugal
350m elevation, frost free
Mediterranean Climate


So here is quite a list, cut and pasted.  Contributors include Jim Shields in Indiana (Z5), James Yourch of North Carolina (Z7), David Fenwick in Devon, England (~Z8), and a nice essay from Dr. Jim Waddick, St Louis, Missouri (Z6).  I've included approximate USDA hardiness zones of contributors to give an idea of what we're seeing as to individual plant hardiness.  We're looking at information from almost 20 years ago.  That said, many of the the original zones listed have changed.  I grew up outside of Cleveland in a strongly Z5a.  It has moved to Z6a/b in the last 20 years.  Where I am now used to be Z5a, it's running Z6a/b in just the last 10 years.

I haven't seen many on PBS in recent months/years, only Shields recently and Waddick this past January.  James Yourch had a list of cultivars he was trialing in 2004 but I haven't heard a report.  Some really great information on stretching your limits are the old files.

Maybe I'll get this into a single Excel file.  Does PBS carry information files like that in the Wiki?

All said, it makes me want to try a few of these in the garden.  

Interlaken, NY Zone 6-ish

J.E. Shields (Thu, 24 Jun 2004 11:42:59 PDT)
This has become a very interesting topic. Please keep up the lists!
Here we have two or three crinums growing out in the open nursery field,
just under about 6 inches of mulch in winter:
Crinum variabile -- large plants that have not yet bloomed
C. [bulbispermum X lugardiae] -- blooming right now
C. bulbispermum seedlings

In protected beds, on the south and east sides of a heated greenhouse, we have
C. bulbispermum bloom size
C. 'Ellen Bosanquet'
misc. x-powellii type plants
C. 'J.C. Harvey' that thrives and blooms multiple scapes

Otheres are still being tested.

James Yourch (Thu, 24 Jun 2004 07:22:39 PDT)
Tony Avent wrote a long list of Crinums hardy for him in central North
Carolina. I am also in central North Carolina and am north and west of Tony
so might be a few degrees colder. I agree with Tony on all of our many

I have a few more to add that I have tested in my garden that don't
duplicate any of Tony's:

Crinum rattrayii - a jagus form, in a protected location
Crinum asiaticum - in a protected location
Crinum x 'White Prince' - not sure if this is the same as what Tony listed
as 'Great White Prince', but mine is not a powellii.
Crinum x 'Super Ellen'
Crinum x 'Peachblow'
Crinum x 'Burgundy'

David Fenwick (Wed, 23 Jun 2004 23:33:11 PDT)

Hi All,
I grow the following list of Crinum outdoors in the ground, temps to -5C,
without protection. Most of the hybrids listed are of South African species.

Crinum album syn. yemense
Crinum bulbispermum (and its hybrids)
Crinum bulbispermum x album
Crinum bulbispermum x lugardiae
Crinum campanulatum 'Album'
Crinum macowanii
Crinum moorei
Crinum moorei 'Mousey Pink'
Crinum variabile
Crinum x powellii 'Bill Francis'
Crinum x powellii
Crinum x powellii 'Album'
Crinum x powellii 'Haarlemense'
Crinum x 'Bradley'
Crinum x 'Carnival'
Crinum x 'Cecil Houdyshel'
Crinum x 'Ellen Bosanquet'
Crinum x 'Elizabeth Traub'
Crinum x 'Emma Jones'
Crinum x 'Giant White Prince'
Crinum x 'Louis Bosanquet' (bulbispermum x macowanii) remake
Crinum x 'Magenta' (scabrum x moorei)
Crinum x 'Walter Flory'
Crinum x 'White Mogul' (moorei x abyssinicum)
Crinum x [forbesii x macowanii] x moorei

James Waddick (Sat, 26 Jun 2004 06:14:48 PDT)
We need more people like Jim Waddick and Jim Shields in the colder zones to
take our lists and keep pushing those envelopes.

Dear Tony;
I agree fully. Although there are just a few what I'd call
"Hardy Bulb Growers" on this list, I am surprised when one 'newbie'
suddenly discovers that Crinum x powellii can be grown outdoors in
Zone 6 or 7. I have been growing the Dutch commercial clone in Zone 5
for more than a decade.

I have tried a few cvs, certainly nothing like Jim S does in
his somewhat milder climate or those in even milder climates. I have
relied on the generosity of friends willing to test some cvs here.
They are too pricey for me to buy and die. Anyone have a form they
want to test for hardiness?

Currently in bloom:
C. x powelli- commercial close. This is certainly about as
vigorous and hardy as all, but the flowers are narrow petalled and
skinny. Often barely opening more than a meager trumpet. I used to
think it was pretty great, but compared to others now something of a
weed. Trouble is that in my climate bulbs can 'dig' down 18 inches
and deeper so it is a lot of back ache work to dig them out even to
give away.
However it is worth it as a dazzlingly exotic foliage plant
in this climate. Nothing really like it.

C.x powelli "alba"- a white commercial form, but much better
bloomer with pure white, open flowers. I'd dig, divide and spread
around, if I could borrow a back hoe.

C. bulbispermum- various seedlings. Always the earliest to
bloom and now almost done, but hardy and beautiful. Easy from seed. A
'Giant' strain from M Sheppard has done beautifully with little care.
Never seems to pup though.

'Cecil Houdyshel'- a named x powelli is much improved with
larger wide open flowers.

That's all that are blooming right now, but my favorite
remains 'Catherine' - pure white with the largest and flaring
flowers. Lightly scented and a beauty.

Although the color of 'Ellen Bousanguet' is gorgeous, it is
slightly less hardy and slow to recover from winter and bloom, but
has been here for 5 or 6 years.

Various others are hardy enough, but less reliable in bloom.
So I urge beginners in colder climate to start with C.
bulbispermum as it is very satisfying to grow and easiest from seed.
I'll try to get seed to Dell for the BX. Maybe it could be sent to
cool climate gardeners as a priority.

I also grow a few more tender sorts in large pots including
striped and bronze foliage tropical sorts. Just worth it as pot

So if you have wondered about whether it is hardy enough to
grow certainly try a bulbispermum of x powelli as these are fast
growing and cheap enough to risk in colder climates.