It thrives in moist, semi-shaded positions. It is important that the soil contains plenty of humus, leaf mould, manure and bark to get the best from them.
Cardiocrinum giganteum is found in the Himalayas of India, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, China and Myanmar.
Cardiocrinum are large bulbous perennials with heart-shaped leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers resembling lilies, followed by erect oblong seed capsules. The flowers are vanilla scented on stems up two to three metres tall. The plant is said to be monocarpic and while this is a true statement, it is slightly misleading. The flowering stems do die after they flower, the bulb, multiplies itself by producing small offset bulbs around the base of the stem.
It was first described by Nathaniel Wallich in Nepal and was introduced into commercial production (as Lilium giganteum) in Britain in the 1850s. Though closely related to lilium, one distinguishing feature separating the genus cardiocrinum from the genus of true lilies is its notable wide heart-shaped leaves with branched veins (true lilies have strap-shaped leaves).
The large leaves of Cardiocrinum give rise to its genus name. It derives from the Greek words kardio for heart and krinum for lily – meaning ‘heart lily’. They weren’t kidding when they called this plant ‘giganteum’ meaning ‘a giant’. The giant stem can have as many as 20 to 40 flower buds on it.
Display only. A small number of bulbs will be available in 2018. In the mean time bulbs are available from Dan Magnus at Woodbridge Nursery.