Backyard Nature Wednesday: Milk and Wine lilies

Milk and Wine lilies are large crinums that have bright white blossoms with showy burgundy stripes. They are staple parts of a classic Southern garden.

Now, my garden isn't exactly classic, but my Milk and Wine lilies are a colorful part of my summer garden and this is the time when they are at their showiest.

Gardeners often receive Milk and Wine lilies as passalong gifts from other gardeners, but I actually got my start of them from the Southern Bulb Company, a company that specializes in saving and propagating traditional Southern bulbs, of which crinums are perhaps the most traditional. 

Crinums come in many different sizes and shapes. Their main colors are red, pink, and white. There is a favorite saying among gardeners that "No crinum has ever died," and it seems almost true of these hardy plants. They thrive as far north as zone 7, some types as far as zone 5. They can flower several times a year, most often after a heavy rain, but they are also able to survive through periods of drought, which makes them just about the perfect plant for the unpredictable summers here.

You won't often find bulbs of these plants for sale at your local nursery, but if you don't have someone who can pass one along to you to get started, I can certainly recommend the Southern Bulb Company as a source. There are other reputable mail order sources that sell them as well.

Crinums, and especially the Milk and Wine lily, are very satisfying plants to grow, because they are beautiful and easy to grow, requiring almost no care. They are a real favorite in my garden.


  1. Love those. I shall have to see if I can find them here.

    1. They provide a lot of color to the summer garden.

  2. Everyone is sending me pictures of flowers from their gardens today. It has been delightful. But no one sent me Milk and Wine lilies. Thank you!

  3. Those are beautiful (and historic). I did a quick search and didn't come up with any hardy to zone 5. Alas, that's what I would need.

    1. The information that I read about them indicated that there were crinums that would thrive in zone 5, but, unfortunately, it didn't tell me what they were. A local nursery or master gardener might be able to tell you - if indeed such bulbs do exist.

  4. Beautiful. Thank you for this


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