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Doryanthes Species, Spear Lily, Giant Spear Lily

Doryanthes palmeri

Family: Doryanthaceae
Genus: Doryanthes (dor-ree-ANTH-eez) (Info)
Species: palmeri (PALM-er-ee) (Info)
Synonym:Doryanthes guilfoylei
Synonym:Doryanthes larkinii


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


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:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

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

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Anaheim, California

Fresno, California

Panorama City, California

Richmond, California

San Leandro, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Upland, California

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 6, 2017, RosinaBloom from Waihi,
New Zealand (Zone 1) wrote:

Unlike the other species in this genus (Doryanthes excelsa) the Doryanthes palmeri stalk droops rather than standing upright due to the weight of the flowers.


On Sep 25, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Very rare in the US outside a few botanical gardens in southern California. It should be more often planted where it's hardy, especially in California and perhaps in Florida. Commonly grown in New Zealand and Australia.

It's for good reason that this is usually called giant spear lily---it's an enormous plant, and definitely not for the small garden. In mature plants, the tallest leaves can reach a height of 15', and rosettes are at least as wide. It looks like a giant green New Zealand flax (Phormium sp.). Inflorescences can reach 20' tall or more, and bear large numbers of 4-5" flowers. Scapes arch gracefully under the weight of the flowers.

It's a rosette-forming plant, like an agave or yucca, and produces offsets that can be easily removed and grown on. I... read more


On May 18, 2016, jv123 from Washougal, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Fairly common in gardens in New Zealand. Most of the propagation for this plant is done by separating pups from the main plant, which occurs on a nearly annual basis. In many botanic gardens (NZ has one in nearly every city) it gets chopped out like a weed, as it gets so tall and forms huge colonies. Even when it isn't in bloom, it is a very impressive plant, and it's a shame you don't see it more often in the US. Overall a very low maintenance plant once established, and with minimal effort a gardener can keep it looking prime.


On Mar 28, 2011, Ubilalo from Panorama City, CA wrote:

I bought a home in the San Fernando Valley May 2010. This plant is in my front yard starting to bloom! March 2011. If anyone wants to see it let me know. It is a rare plant to own.


On Sep 3, 2007, careyjane from Rabat,
Morocco wrote:

Somebody told me today that there are only 6000 plants of this species in the world. I wonder if anyone knows if this is really true or not.


On Nov 6, 2006, artorima from London,
United Kingdom wrote:

This plant is threatened in it's native habitat, in part by illegal seed harvesting. Please ensure you buy plant material from legal sources.


On Dec 25, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

These are massive lilies that look like flax (Phormium tenax) but all green. They have huge flower spikes that arch and can carry what seems like a pound of red-orange flowers that open in sequence along the distal length of the spike. These Australian natives make wonderful landscape plants in warmer areas, and the flowers are truly impressive.