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PlantFiles: Southern Swamp Lily, American Crinum
Crinum americanum

Family: Amaryllidaceae (am-uh-ril-id-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Crinum (KRY-num) (Info)
Species: americanum (a-mer-ih-KAY-num) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

20 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ponds and Aquatics

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Crinum americanum by Floridian

By alhanks
Thumbnail #2 of Crinum americanum by alhanks

By Jenks
Thumbnail #3 of Crinum americanum by Jenks

By Jenks
Thumbnail #4 of Crinum americanum by Jenks

By Jenks
Thumbnail #5 of Crinum americanum by Jenks

By Chamma
Thumbnail #6 of Crinum americanum by Chamma

By Chamma
Thumbnail #7 of Crinum americanum by Chamma

There are a total of 15 photos.
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5 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive forgottenfl On Jun 30, 2012, forgottenfl from Crawfordville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant has bloomed every summer in my FL Big Bend area woodland garden and were planted about 15 years ago. The only complaint I would have is that it doesn't bloom long enough, but while it does it is amazing. My woods are fairly dry and it does not have heavy water needs from what I can tell. Mine currently need dividing and I'll do that next spring so I will report then as to the success with that venture.

Positive Bartramsgarden On Jul 29, 2006, Bartramsgarden from Trenton, FL wrote:

These lilies develop into massive, highly structural clumps (up to 6' high and 8' wide) in my area. Little green tree frogs and lizards quickly colonize these clumps, and hummingbirds love the blossoms, making this plant a fascinating addition to a patio where you drink coffee in the morning. They die back in winter, but quickly recover.

I have seen them growing happily in both well-drained sandy soil and along the edge of bodies of water.

Of special note: Unnamed varieties with purple-tinged leaves and light pink flowers are being sold locally. I purchased one of these a year ago and planted it in my garden. While it does not seem to grow quite as quickly as the basic green-leaved variety, it is as healthy, trouble-free, and beautiful.

If all natives plants were this appealing, we would have much fewer problems with non-native invasives!

Neutral melody On Apr 8, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I do not grow this plant, information only.

The long, strap-like leaves and the flowers look like a member of the lily family, but it is not a true lily. It's flower parts are attached above the ovary rather than below, as in a true lily.

It is common along streambanks and in marshes all along the Coastal South, from South Carolina to Texas.

It blooms periodically throughout the year, but mainly in the spring and fall.

Neutral Bonniesue On Jun 13, 2004, Bonniesue from Biloxi, MS wrote:

I just wanted to add that I saw this lily for the first time today. It was growing in a bayou in Pearlington, MS. So beautiful.

Neutral suncatcheracres On Dec 11, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I've been looking for this plant for my Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, garden for some time, and hopefully will find some bulbs soon, as my Southern Living Garden Book says this plant will take deep shade. It's native to "water edges and swamps in southeastern US and Gulf Coast," so I have the perfect climate for them here, back only 25 miles from the Gulf. Plus I love fragrant flowers.

I can find all kinds of the other crinums, but I'd like to have this particular one to plant in some garden beds I'm dedicating to native plants only, and I think the white flowers would especially show up under the shade of my old oaks.

Positive dogbane On Dec 10, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Great plant which is easy to grow and pest free. Will grow in sun or shade, though blooms more freely in sun. Suitable for garden, water garden or bogs. Self seeds under good growing conditions and spreads by underground stolons (new bulbs start at the ends).

Positive Chamma On Mar 27, 2003, Chamma from Tennille, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Nice Scent and wonderful filler for a large garden!

Positive Jenks On Jan 21, 2003, Jenks from Social Circle, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Bulbs can weigh over 40 lbs!

Neutral Terry On Aug 20, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

This native plant is less-known but better suited to most American gardens than the South African crinums found in many old homesteads.

Its fragrant white flowers are held upright, and bloom all season as long as the soil is kept moist.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Mobile, Alabama
San Francisco, California
Bartow, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Cape Canaveral, Florida (2 reports)
Crawfordville, Florida
Fort Pierce, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Longwood, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Orange Park, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Venice, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Lithonia, Georgia
Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2 reports)
Gonzales, Louisiana
Mandeville, Louisiana
New Iberia, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Violet, Louisiana
Andover, Massachusetts
Carriere, Mississippi
Burlington, North Carolina
Matthews, North Carolina
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Beaufort, South Carolina
Bluffton, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Fair Play, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Beaumont, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Orange, Texas
San Antonio, Texas

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