Cardiocrinum giganteum – the giant himalayan lily is one of my all time favourite flowering plants for dramatic effect. With flower spikes up to 2m tall and classic trumpet like white flowers complete with purple throats, producedin varying numbers from 6-12 on a single straight stem – what’s not to like? But something I’ve never seen stated is that Cardiocrinum are worth growing just for their foliage along with large arum-like leaves up to 50cm long in the most gorgeous metallic green (I know metallic green is hard to imagine but once seen you’ll know what I mean).
Each bulb is known as monocarpic meaning that technically it dies after flowering but in my experience this isn’t a problem as each plant produces lots of offsets once it has flowered thus continuing the plant.
Cardiocrinums do best planted in sheltered part shady position in fertle, moist but free draining soils. It’s worth the effort when planting to add lots of well rotted manure or good compost. Imagine a beautiful stream running through the lush forests in the Himalayas where Cardiocrinums grow naturally in shady glades.
If you want to see them en-masse and live in the south, try Wakehurst gardens in mid-summer where they grow magnificently alongside the waterside plantings. We sell our Cardiocrinums in containers ready rooted, rather than ‘dry’ bulbs because these Lilys hate having their roots dried and can be very hard to get back into growth if purchased in this way.