Fall-blooming Crinums

Joe jshaw@opuntiads.com
Sun, 11 Nov 2007 09:49:52 PST
Hi Gang,

The last crinums of fall seems to have finished blooming; the last two 
plants finished this week.  One was a digweedii-type (I think it is Royal 
White, as described by Al Sisk).  It is wonderfully fragrant and I had 
forgotten it can bloom late. I need to check my records to be sure.

LINK:  Crinum x Royal White

The other bloomer was a C. erubescens-like plant with very dark burgundy 
scapes and stamens that set off the lumious white tepals.

Of course C. asiaticum types may try to bloom from now till the first 
frosts.  One year a plant loaded with blooms just stopped all activity in 
mid-December after a night of 33 F.  The cold weather surprised it I guess. 
Eventually, frosts in early January took out the scape.

In Houston proper (30-40 miles south) some Crinums bloom in winter.  Houston 
just doesn't have frosts in many gardens.  Temperatures may drop to 28 F or 
30 F in some neighborhoods in recent years, but tree cover and heat from 
buildings seems to keep actual frost away from the plants.  And I think the 
many warm days preceeding cold events provides heat to the soil, and such 
heat radiates out on cold nights.  The frost may appear on roof tops but not 
low to the ground, under trees, or next to homes.  Additionally, cool 
temperatures seem to arrive very late overnight, and by the time it is cold 
the sun is rising.  C. augustum is a reliable winter bloom in some Houston 
gardens.  Marcelle Sheppard moves a giant pot of C. augustum indoors for 
winter, and it blooms off and on during winter and early spring in a cool 

LINK:  C. augustum in winter bloom

Here where I live, north of Houston, temperatures can drop to 22-23 F some 
nights.  This takes out the foliage on all my crinums except C. 
bulbispermum-types.  C. asciacum and similar plants are hardy, but I don't 
think they'd take much more cold.  The gold-leaved Crinum known as C. 
xanthophyllum is very tender, and it dies about 28-30 F; even a few days of 
30 F seem to kill it.  There is a similar plant that a friend found many 
years ago in Thailand; it is smaller than C. xanthophylum and seems to be 
hardier.  Both are beautiful in the right setting next to foliage of other 
shapes and colors, but off in a pot by themselves they can look pitifully 
sad and chlorotic.

LINK:  C. xanthophyllum and Thai gold Crinum (scoll to bottom photo)


Conroe TX 

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