Crinum breeding: which features ?

Jay Yourch
Thu, 26 Aug 2004 08:08:27 PDT
Hi all,

I agree at some level with everything that has been discussed on this thread.  I demand much of my plants and a plant that takes up much space and does not have foliage that pleases me will not remain in my garden for very long.

I have just gotten into Crinum hybridizing and favor parents with good foliage.  I also like large, well shaped flowers that last a while and fragrance is important too.  IMO, some of the better foliage in the species Crinums can be found in erubescens, moorei, asiaticum, procerum, jagus rattrayi, jagus vanillodorum, album (syn yemense), oliganthum.  I don't have this one yet, but based on what I am seeing with its hybrids, C. zeylanicum also looks promising as far as foliage.

There are many species Crinum which I don't have and know little about, so there may be others I might like as well.  Initially I did not like the looks of C. scabrum foliage, but as the plants have matured I find them very architectural.

Some of the hybrids I have with better foliage, IMO, are 'Mrs. James Hendry', 'Summer Nocturne', 'Improved Peach Blow', 'Hannibal's Dwarf', 'White Prince', 'J.C. Harvey'.  It is no surprise that all of these have erubescens (or americanum), moorei, album, or zeylanicum as parents. C.  jagus tends not to cross so has not been used for hybridization.  There are probably a bunch of good looking hybrids involving procerum or asiaticum, but I don't have them because I am pushing the limits of their tolerance for cold here.

With regards to Rhodophiala, the foliage is not all that attractive and the flowers are ephemeral, but the plants are small and the foliage is present mostly in the winter when other plants are dormant so I tolerate it.  I use them with companions that provide a good foliage foil when the Rhodophiala are blooming and then get out of the way after the first frost so the Rhodophiala can get the light they need during the winter.  I do the same trick with Lycoris, Sternbergia, and Arum, and in one garden spot can get up to 4 different kinds of plants to provide a show at different times of the year without interfering with each other.  Unlike Rhodophiala, Lycoris radiata, Sternbergia lutea, and Arum italicum have attractive foliage that adds to the winter garden.


Jay Yourch

Central North Carolina, USA (USDA Zone 7b) 

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