Spider lilies are a member of the crinum family.
image by Claudia Meyer: sxc.hu
The crinum, like amaryllis, hails from South Africa and also has a lush tropical appearance. It prefers warm climates and mild winters. Crinums reach 4 feet tall and have as many as 10 large flowers per stalk. Planted from bulbs, crinums are later summer bulbs that prefer warm temperatures. Most often red, white or pink, the funnel-shaped crinum blooms resemble lily flowers. The dramatic blooms show off best when planted alone with no nearby bedding plants to detract from them. Crinums may take up to five years before flowering but they are well worth waiting for.
Prepare the planting bed in late summer. Choose a well drained bed in full sun. If the soil doesn't drain puddles within 5 hours, build up the bed 3 inches by working compost or peat moss into the soil.
Dig planting holes 12 inches apart in rows or in a circle. Plant bulbs just beneath the soil surface with the pointed tops facing up. Fill in the holes on top the bulbs with soil.
Water the bulbs thoroughly, soaking the entire area around the bulbs. Keep soil moist throughout the spring, summer and fall.
Fertilize in the second year with a general purpose fertilizer. Fertilize in spring, midsummer and fall.
Cut back foliage after it dies off completely the following autumn. Crinum produce leaves in the spring and flower from summer through autumn.