Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Subfamily: Lilioideae
Genus: Cardiocrinum
Species: C. giganteum


The giant Himalayan lily, Cardiocrinum giganteum is the largest of all known species from the Liliaceae family. Closely related to the genus lilium, Cardiocrinum giganteum differs in that the bulb dies back after flowering. It is also distinguished from true lilies in having dark green, ovate, heart-shaped leaves, borne in rosettes at or near the base of the stems and are produced along the stem  to just below the first flower.


The fragrant flowers are produced from July to August and are at least 6 inches long. They are coloured cream or green-white, are are streaked with purple or crimson-brown within the trumpet.

It is often believed that these plants are monocarpic (plants which flower, set seed and then die), but while the flowering stem will die after seed set and even if the seed is not set the perennial stem (the basal plate) and its offset bulbs live on from year to year.

In the garden environment you can expect them to reach a height of up to 10 ft tall, however there is evidence that in their natural habitat they can be as tall as 12 ft!

The leaves of the giant Himalayan lily will become scorched if grown in full sun and so they will do best in semi-shaded, sheltered position. 

Plant the bulbs in October in a moisture retentive soil that has been enriched with leaf-mould or well-rotted farm manure. Set the bulb so that its 'nose' is just above the soil level. Despite its great height, staking should not be necessary.

The giant Himalayan lily was first described by Nathaniel Wallich in Nepal and was introduced into commercial production in Britain in the 1850s under its earlier name of Lilium giganteum. They were first brought to flower in Great Britain by Major Madden in Edinburgh in July 1852.

For related article click onto the following links:

CROWN IMPERIAL LILY - Fritillaria imperialis    How to Grow Canna Lilies    The Turks Cap Lily  The Foxtail Lily  The Japanese Cobra Lily  The Madonna Lily The Japanese Cobra Lily  The Stargazer Lily  The Hardy Spider Lily     The Golden Foxtail lily - Eremurus bungei


About the Author

The 'Seeds of Eaden' website is the brainchild of professional horticulturist and multi-award winning gardener Simon Eade. After six years of study; two years 'Retail Horticulture' at Hadlow College, then four years Commercial Horticulture at Greenwich University, Simon has worked in a number of 'fields' within the industry for over twenty years. Most notably, managing the prestigious Alexandra Palace garden centre in London. Since then he has become an internationally published writer, and author of the popular 'Garden of Eaden' blog.

Simon Eade is also a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Banksian medal

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