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June 30th, 2021

Spider Lily (Hymenocallis latifolia)

by R.S. Walsh

The American Spider Lily is a Florida native as well as a native of the West Indies. It is popular for its foliage and ‘spidery’ snow white flowers. This perennial species forms clumps of flowers that range from 2 to 3 feet in height. The spider lily grows from a single bulb and readily re-seeds itself. This plant does best in full sun/partial shade, well drained and sandy loam soil. It is very tolerant of drought as well as salt, making it a great species to use on our islands with its salt spray along the beaches and dry conditions during the winter months. The spider lily can be found naturally on shell mounds, maritime hammocks, coast strand, beach dunes, mangrove swamp edges, and brackish swamps.

If one wants to propagate this plant, bulb division is the most effective way of spreading the plant. The spider lily can form a dense ground cover of plants within two years after planting making this species perfect for clusters as well as specimen species within small tropical gardens of Florida. Another element that makes this species highly sought after is its low maintenance quality within the garden. The spider lily also blooms throughout the year and is very long living. This lily with is interesting blooms makes a great addition to an island garden.

This plant column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, a Sanibel garden center located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Rd., Sanibel, Florida.

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