Spider Lily

Credit: Internationaal Bloembollen Centrum, Hillegom Holland

The flower of this summer bulb looks like a white daffodil with six long, spider leg-like extensions growing out of the tips of its petals. The flowers deserve to be seen up close and spider lily makes a wonderful container plant.

Two bulbs per 30-cm (12-in.) pot will reward you with a brilliant show. Plant them in regular potting soil, leaving the neck just above the surface of the soil. Each bulb will produce four to six fragrant flowers on 40- to 60-cm (16- to 24-in.) stems.

The most common cultivars in Canada are H. festalis ‘Zwanenburg,’ which has white flowers tinged with green; H. ‘Advance,’ with pure-white flowers; and H. ‘Sulphur Queen,’ with creamy yellow flowers streaked with dark green.

Hymenocallis are not winter-hardy, so bring them into a cool place where the temperature doesn’t drop below 13°C (55°F)­ in the cool months.

Hymenocallis is sometimes sold as Ismene.