Wednesday in the garden: Milk and wine lilies

While I was out of town for several days, my milk and wine lilies started blooming. I came home to find that I had missed the first flush of flowers, but a few of the plants still had blooms and there are more on the way.

Milk and wine lilies are so called for a fairly obvious reason - the color of the flowers is a milky white with a wine red stripe. This lily is from the crinum family and is one of the most common plants found in old southern gardens and sometimes in old southern cemeteries. They became popular around the turn of the twentieth century and were widely grown at that time. One reason for their popularity, other than their beauty, is that they are tough as old boots and virtually impossible to kill. They grow well in a variety of soils, thrive on neglect, and tend to multiply to the point of becoming almost obnoxious.

There are about 130 varieties of crinums and they are natives primarily of the tropics and of South Africa. I grow four different kinds in my garden and all of them flourish here.

The milk and wine lilies will rebloom throughout the summer. They are undeterred by drought. Funnily enough, they also will do well with wet feet. What a versatile plant! 


  1. Welcome back, Dorothy!

    I like "tough as old boots" plants. This one has lovely blooms. :-)

    1. They are the perfect combination of toughness and beauty.

  2. Tough as old boots, but, alas, they would not survive a winter here in upstate New York. They are so pretty.

    1. They are tropical, so, no, probably not a good fit for Binghamton!

  3. I have developed new respect for plants that are tough, can grow and bloom in drought and wet conditions. That is the story of my current property as the seasons and shade patterns revolve through the year. I love the name, of course.


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