Crinum Care and Culture in East Texas
Marcelle’s recommendations for Crinum culture are simple.
- Keep them well fed with barnyard fertilizer in the fall and commercial fertilizer like 13-13-13 or 10-20-10 in the spring.
- Keep them well watered
- Keep the pH close to 6.0
- Provide at least 6 hours of sunlight per day
- Mulch them well with bark mulch, pine needles or any other mulch available in your area
- Lift, divide and rework beds when they get crowded
Despite these simple recommendations, Marcelle does recommend well composted manure as the fertilizer of choice. And she reports that Crinum will grow in many locations in Texas zones 8 and 9 if they have sun, regular water, and fertilizer. Half-day sun or full-day sun are appropriate.
Crinum benefit from occasional thinning, especially those that multiply rapidly. J. C. Harvey, which increases very rapidly can be planted deeper than you might plant other bulbs, such deep planting seems to slow multiplication and the plant concentrates more on blooming. In East Texas, Crinum growers recommend digging the plants every 7 years, and reworking the depleted soil.
Marcelle recommends transplanting Crinum in summer or early fall, no later than October in order to give them time to get established again before winter. Plants moved in spring often lose blooms for the year. In fact, some Crinum will not bloom for 2 years after moving, no matter how careful you are.
To transplant the tropical crinums, dig around the plant and expose the area around the pups and cut them loose from the mother plant. You can then leave the mother plant where it is. This approach leaves the mother plant healthy and ready to bloom, hardly disturbed at all.
Average drainage is required for most Crinum that can be grown outdoors in East Texas. Thus, if you can grow roses, or fruit trees, or most shrubs, you probably have good enough drainage. If the soil is too sandy the plants may not thrive, and humus should be added.
Some of the aquatic Crinum will grow with some standing water, such as a ditch that gets flooded in rains, or perhaps at the edge of a pond, or even in the boggy soil surrounding the pond. Aquatic Crinum can be grown in containers without extra standing water, but flowering results will vary. C. americanum seems to require winter flooding in order to bloom well. Marcelle has grown almost all of the Crinum listed in this Web site, in backyard garden conditions near Beaumont, TX. Most of the plants described herein will do well under similar conditions, and perhaps colder conditions as well.
There are many Crinum species that derive from desert areas, or areas that are arid for part of the year. Dr. David J. Lehmiller has written an excellent summary of how to grow Crinum that require some drought conditions. "Cultivation of African Crinum in Pots and Tubs," permission to reproduce the article has kindly been provided by the International Bulb Society, an organization devoted to the enjoyment and cultivation of bulbs.