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Hymenocallis traubii – Traub’s Spider Lily

Categories:Native Plants Perennials Rare Plants

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Traub’s spider lily prefers consistently moist soil. It was growing in full sun where I photographed it. You can grow it in bog gardens or as a pond plant. It is also called Florida spider lily. It is a bulb.

Have a place where pitcher plant is at home? Plant some Traub’s spider lily with it. I photographed Hymenocallis traubii in a garden with ordinary soil. The white flowers are pretty wild and have a tropical flair.

traub's spider lily
Traub’s spider lily.

traub's spider lily

Traub's spider lily
Traub’s spider lily – Hymenocallis traubii.

Traub’s spider lily is native to Florida

It’s a bit of a specialist’s plant geared for those who seek to populate their gardens with plants rarely seen. I’ve never seen it grown in a private garden. Perhaps in Florida it is everywhere. If you choose to grow Traub’s spider lily in your own garden, try not to let the soil dry out.

Hymenocallis traubii blooms in mid-May in Zone 8 and in April in more southerly gardens. It grows 12″ or so high with flower spikes to 18″. I had never heard of Florida spider lily but the UGA Trial Gardens evaluated it in 2011 and I suspect some plants made it out to the UGA Botanical Garden (where I first stumbled across Traub’s spider lily).

Traub's spider lily
Hymenocallis traubii – Traub’s spider lily

Traub’s spider lily spreads in the garden but is not aggressive.

The flowers have white discs an inch or so across with long, slender petals radiating outward. Hymenocallis has a reputation for great fragrance.

Notes on winter hardiness and species name
If one researches Traub’s spider lily, there is conflicting information online about species name and winter hardiness. The USDA assigns Hymenocallis tridentata as a synonym for Hymenocallis traubii. The issue is that Hymenocallis tridentata is noted as being hardy as far north as Vero Beach, Florida.

Vendors online indicate winter hardiness to at least zone 7a or colder. The spider lily I photographed this season clearly made it through Georgia’s winter (harsh by our standards). I’ve been photographing the same colony for years, here in Athens, Georgia. We are in zone 8, significantly north of Vero Beach.

I cannot tell you the hardiness of this bulb definitively. I can confirm the following: The planting has easily survived our winter for years.


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