Crinum Species, American Crinum, Southern Swamp Lily, String Lily

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)




Ponds and Aquatics

Water Requirements:

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Foliage Color:



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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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

Perry, 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

Belton, Texas

Houston, Texas(2 reports)

Orange, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 16, 2017, anachroneiron from Kalmar,
Sweden (Zone 7b) wrote:

My family has been growing this as an indoor houseplant in Sweden since at least the 40s, probably much longer. Great houseplant, great scent. Tolerant of low light. Beautiful leaves as well.


On Aug 24, 2017, kristinamarie68 wrote:

I live in northern Florida, Perry to be exact. I just love this lily, mine grows in the front flower bed, I rarely ever have to even water it, so it needing a lot of water isn't exactly true. It gets almost all full sun except for a little shade in the afternoon. Mine has bloomed four times already this summerand has gotten pretty big (only fertilized once in the spring), it stands a good 5' high and just as big around. Mine doesn't die off in the winter, can't understand why because while I live in Florida, it gets pretty cold, 30- 40 - 50's, and I don't cover it when frost comes, a few leaves may sustain damage but I just cut them off in spring and its good to go, one of the most beautiful and easiest growing plants I've ever had, recommend it to anyone for that "tropical feel" :)


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.


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... read more


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.


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.


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.


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).


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

Nice Scent and wonderful filler for a large garden!


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

Bulbs can weigh over 40 lbs!


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.