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Crinum Asiaticum: A Masterclass on Growing and Caring for Spider Lilies

The Crinum asiaticum, commonly known as Giant Crinum Lily, Spider Lily, and Grand Crinum Lily, belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family. Despite its name suggesting a relation to orchids, it is actually a robust perennial herb of the Amaryllidaceae family. It blooms from June to August, releasing a pleasant fragrance in the evenings. The flowers have […]

The Crinum asiaticum, commonly known as Giant Crinum Lily, Spider Lily, and Grand Crinum Lily, belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family.

Despite its name suggesting a relation to orchids, it is actually a robust perennial herb of the Amaryllidaceae family. It blooms from June to August, releasing a pleasant fragrance in the evenings.

The flowers have white, linear tepals with pale pink stamens, linear anthers tapering to a point, and a spindle-shaped ovary. The fruit is nearly spherical, typically containing a single seed.

Its leaves and roots are used medicinally to promote blood circulation, reduce stasis, decrease swelling, and alleviate pain. They are used to treat bruises, febrile headaches, and sores due to heat toxins.

Crinum asiaticum

It is predominantly found in the coastal and riverside sandy areas of South China.

The Giant Crinum Lily is highly valued for its beauty, used to embellish green spaces in gardens, campuses, government facilities, residential communities, and as an ornamental plant in courtyards or as a hedge around houses.

When potted, it can enhance the ambiance of stately conference halls, opulent hotels, and banquet entrances with its elegant presence and fragrant blooms, creating a visually pleasing experience.

I. Morphological Characteristics

Crinum asiaticum

Crinum asiaticum

The Crinum asiaticum is a robust perennial herb with an elongated, columnar bulb.

It has 20 to 30 leaves arranged in multiple rows, strap-like, and lanceolate, reaching up to 1 meter in length and 7 to 12 centimeters or more in width, tapering to an acute point with a prominently sharp tip and wavy margins, dark green in color.

The flower stalk stands erect, almost as tall as the leaves, with an umbel inflorescence bearing 10 to 24 flowers, enclosed by boat-shaped spathe bracts that are lanceolate, 6 to 10 centimeters long, membranous, with narrow linear bracteoles measuring 3 to 7 centimeters long.

The flower stalks are 0.5 to 2.5 centimeters long; the flowers are high on a pedestal, fragrant, with slender greenish-white floral tubes extending straight, 10 centimeters long, 1.5 to 2 millimeters in diameter.

The tepals are linear, 4.5 to 9 centimeters long, 6 to 9 millimeters wide, tapering towards the top, and white. The stamens are pale pink with filaments 4 to 5 centimeters long, and linear anthers tapering at the end, measuring 1.5 centimeters or longer. The ovary is spindle-shaped, less than 2 centimeters long.

The capsule is nearly spherical, 3 to 5 centimeters in diameter, usually with one seed. It flowers in the summer.

Crinum amoenum

Crinum amoenum differs from the Giant Crinum Lily, featuring a globular bulb and generally non-wavy leaf edges. The plant is shorter, typically under 60 centimeters.

It’s native to tropical regions of Asia. The flowers, neater than those of the Giant Crinum Lily, droop before blooming and usually open simultaneously.

Crinum × amabile

Crinum × amabile is similar in structure to the Giant Crinum Lily but with flowers tinted with the red of Crinum zeylanicum. The shape of the flowers remains as irregular as those of the Giant Crinum Lily.

II. Growth Environment

Crinum asiaticum prefer warm, moist, well-lit, and fertile sandy loam environments. They are not cold-hardy but can tolerate saline-alkali soil. However, direct strong sunlight should be avoided during the seedling stage.

The optimal growing temperature is between 59°F to 68°F (15°C to 20°C), and during the bulb’s dormancy in winter, the ideal storage temperature is around 46°F (8°C).

For potted plants, a high humus content, loose, fertile, and well-draining sandy soil is preferred.

III. Distribution Range

Crinum asiaticum is native to Indonesia, Sumatra, and other locations, cultivated in the tropical and subtropical provinces of Southern China, growing wild by riversides, village edges, and in low-lying grasslands, or planted in gardens.

IV. Growth and Propagation

During the summer, ensure ample watering to keep the potting soil moist; apply a diluted liquid fertilizer weekly, and use calcium superphosphate before the flower stalk emerges.

After flowering, promptly prune the flower stem. From March to April, plant the bulbs in pots 20 to 25 centimeters deep, making sure the bulbs are not visible, water thoroughly after planting, and place in a shaded area.

For Crinum asiaticum planted in the ground, divide the plant every 2 to 3 years to maintain vigorous growth and abundant flowering; otherwise, the plants may grow poorly and flower sparsely.

Propagation is commonly done by division or sowing seeds.

Propagation by Division

Division can be carried out in spring or autumn, preferably in spring in conjunction with repotting. Invert the parent plant from its pot, peel off the surrounding bulbs, and plant them separately.

Propagation by Seed

The best time for sowing is from March to April. In the north, artificial pollination is needed, or the seeds may not set. Seeds have a high water content and should be sown immediately after harvest.

Sow in shallow trays covered with about 2 centimeters of soil, water thoroughly, and maintain a temperature of 16 to 22 degrees Celsius with moderate moisture, avoiding overwatering.

Germination should occur within about 2 weeks. Once the seedlings have 2 to 3 true leaves, they can be transplanted into smaller pots. It takes 3 to 4 years for the plants to flower.

V. Disease and Pest Control

Leaf Spot Disease


Leaf spots often start at the leaf tip or edge, semi-circular, oval, fusiform, or irregular in shape, yellow-brown, brown, or gray-brown with a yellow halo.

The spots are usually large, with diameters over 1 centimeter and lengths up to several centimeters, some merging into long streaks. Small black dots or grains (fungal fruiting bodies) appear on the surface of the spots.

Pathogen and Disease Characteristics

The pathogens are fungi from the Deuteromycetes, including several species like Pestalotiopsis, Phoma, Alternaria, and Cercospora.

The fungi overwinter in infected leaves and debris as mycelia and fruiting bodies, spreading via conidia through wind and rain, and infecting through stomata or wounds. Warm and humid weather and an overgrown garden environment are conducive to disease outbreaks.

Control Methods

  • Remove and burn infected plant debris.
  • At the early stages of infection, spray with a solution of 75% chlorothalonil + 70% tolclofos-methyl wettable powder (1:1) at 800-1000 times dilution, or 30% copper oxychloride 500 times dilution, or 50% hexaconazole wettable powder 800 times dilution, or 40% sulphur suspension 600 times dilution, or 25% carbendazim wettable powder 500 times dilution, or 50% iprodione wettable powder 1000 times dilution, or 69% mancozeb + 75% chlorothalonil wettable powder (1:1) at 1000-1500 times dilution, or 15% imazalil wettable powder 2000 times dilution, or 65% thiram wettable powder 800 times dilution, or 40% difenoconazole wettable powder 600 times dilution. Depending on the weather, spray every 7 to 15 days, several times in a row.

VI. Main Value

Medicinal Value

The leaves and bulbs are used medicinally to activate blood circulation, reduce bruising, and relieve pain. They are used to treat injuries from falls, wind-heat headaches, and carbuncles due to heat toxins.

Dosage: 5 to 15 grams; for external use, apply an appropriate amount of the fresh plant, mashed, to the affected area.

Ingesting Crinum asiaticum may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fever.

Ornamental Value

Crinum asiaticum is valued for its beautiful flowers and foliage, making it a prized ornamental plant. It can be used to enhance gardens, campuses, governmental green spaces, and residential lawns, as well as decorate courtyards.

It can also serve as a green hedge around houses. When potted, it adds elegance to formal meeting rooms, luxurious hotels, and banquet hall entrances, filling the space with fragrance and providing visual delight.

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Founder of FlowersLib

Peggie was once a high school mathematics teacher, but she set aside her chalkboard and textbooks to follow her lifelong passion for flowers. After years of dedication and learning, she not only established a thriving flower shop but also founded this blog, “Flowers Library”. If you have any questions or wish to learn more about flowers, feel free to contact Peggie.

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