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Come and see Kew's glorious giant Himalayan lilies

Richard Wilford
5 July 2013
Blog team: 
A glorious display of the giant Himalayan lily, Cardiocrinum giganteum, can be seen now in the dappled shade of the Woodland Garden at Kew.

The glistening white trumpets of the giant Himalayan lily (Cardiocrinum giganteum) are held in a loose cluster at the top of leafy stems that can reach over two metres tall. The lily grows wild in the Himalayan Mountains at altitudes up to 3600 metres. At Kew it can be seen in the shady Woodland Garden, at grid reference M8 on our handy garden map (pdf).

Cardiocrinum giganteum in the Woodland Garden (Photo: Richard Wilford)

Growing from a huge bulb, Cardiocrinum giganteum can take 7 years or more to reach flowering size from seed. The main bulb then dies but small bulb offsets are produced and can be separated and replanted for flowers in years to come. It is well worth the long wait to see these amazing blooms. 

The white trumpets of the giant Himalayan lily (Photo: Richard Wilford)

The bulbs of these mighty plants are scattered through the Woodland Garden and at the moment there is a particularly good display of flowering sized plants. Some of the smaller specimens that have only grown wide, glossy green leaves will flower in the next year or two. 

Cardiocrinum giganteum is scattered throughout the Woodland Garden (Photo: Richard Wilford) 

If you want to read more about how to propagate this plant, read a previous post, Dramatic display of giant Himalayan lily seedheads, written in the autumn when the seed heads make another eye-catching display.

But right now, come to Kew and enjoy these wonderful flowers in their glory! 

- Richard -


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