I have previously mentioned the native sea grape. Another very interesting and widespread plant on Anna Maria Island is the large crinum lily. Also called the spider lily, this large member of the amaryllis family can grow quickly to at least five feet high. The large white or burgundy ‘milk and wine’ flowers are very delicate and fragrant. When they go to seed and drop to the ground, new plants start easily, and the low-energy gardener can simply watch the garden expand, without doing any work at all. That’s my kind of gardening.
Although some instructions for how to grow crinum lilies indicates that regular watering and fertilizing are necessary, we have had them on our island property for ten years, and have only rarely given them any water or fertilizer. Crinum lilies are considered to have medium salt tolerance. Again, our experience has been better than this on our property, where the lilies are occasionally flooded when the tides are high. They may look bad for awhile, but they quickly recover.
When we first moved to the island, there were single crinum lilies here and there on our property. They looked almost too large for a small property, and we almost eliminated them. But then we decided to put them all next to each other, into a clump. The clump has continued to expand over the years, and it’s a very rewarding and beautiful part of our yard.