Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Crinum amabile

Crinum amabile, known around here as 'the monster', is really a huge thing. We got this one about 4 or 5 years ago, maybe longer, and have been watching it get bigger and bigger. The bulb was about the size of a softball when we got it, but they said to put it in a large pot because it grows so quickly, so it was potted in one that was about 5 gallon size. It didn't take long before it had filled the pot. The bulb now pretty much goes to the sides of the pot. I don't think I'll repot it, though, because it seems happy. Including the pot, it is about 5 feet tall and almost that wide.
This Crinum is not hardy here, only in zone 8 and warmer, and so it needs to be brought into the house every winter before frost. My sunny warm window where there is room for it is upstairs in the front of the house. This things now weights at least 50 pounds and is a real pain to take up the steps (one step at a time, resting every few steps). This spring I told the plant that if it didn't bloom, finally, this year, it was going to have to live somewhere else. The guys at Glasshouse Works promised to give it a good home if we didn't want it any more. That sounded good to me. Wouldn't you know that as soon as I threatened the plant, it would decide to bloom.
Here is the beginning ot the bud. The ferny foliage around the plant is Rhus typhina 'Tiger's Eye', a sumac.

Here's a closeup of the bud as it was just emerging. Not all that pretty at that stage.

Here it is again as it started to grow. Shortly after this we had to stake it up so it didn't break off. The pot won't fall over since it is sitting in a larger pot filled with water. Crinums seem to like a lot of moisture, at least in the summer. I've always kept it drier in the winter.

Here is a closeup of the bud as it started to open with all of the separate buds inside.

And here as the separate buds grew bigger.

And the final bloom which I waited so long to see. It has really been wonderful since it wasn't just one bloom, but a series of blooms which have continued to open for 2 weeks now and seems like it will continue a bit longer still. The scent is heavenly and spreads for quite a distance around the plant, especially in the morning and evening, though when you walk past it during the day you also get a hint of scent.
As much as I've enjoyed it, the last time I lift this one up again will be to put it in the car and take it over the Glasshouse Works once it is done blooming. They have a lot more greenhouse space for it than I do so it will have a nice home. Until then, I'll continue to enjoy it. I'm glad I finally got to see it bloom.

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