Cardiocrinum giganteum, commonly called the giant Himalayan lily, is a bulbous perennial that is native to part shade woodland areas of the Himalayas, China and Myanmar. Nodding, fragrant, trumpet-shaped, lily-like, white flowers (to 8" long) with a greenish tinge on the outer petals, each with purple adaxial streaking, bloom in terminal racemes in summer atop thick, straight, rigid, stems growing up to 9' tall. Stems rise up from a basal rosette of glossy, broad-ovate, cordate-based, hosta-like, medium to dark green leaves (each to 12-15" long). Stem leaves are smaller. Each raceme has up to 20 flowers. Bulb dies after flowers bloom, but bulb offsets remain. Flowers are followed by decorative seed capsules (to 2 1/2" long). Woodland gardens. Part shade areas of border. Sundappled areas shaded by large trees. Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-9. Best grown in deep, fertile, humusy, organically rich, moist but well-drained soils in part shade. Best sited in locations sheltered from strong winds. Sow seed in bulb trays.
Growing Instructions for the Giant Himalayan Lily
The seeds often wait until the second year to germinate so patience is required to grow this plant. Sow the seeds in good potting mix, water and place in a plastic bag at 55-65 °F (13-18 °C) for 2-3 weeks. Then place in the fridge to stratify for 4-6 weeks and return to germination temperature. Remove from the plastic bag and keep the mix moist. Germination can be very slow. Transplant seedlings when they're large enough to handle. Both seedlings and adults should be grown in part sun with plenty of moist and organic rich soils (much like conditions for growing hostas). A little fertilizer is recommended during the growing season.