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Giant Spear Lily

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, they probably munched on plants like Doryanthes palmeri - the Giant Spear Lily!  Growing to 12 feet tall, with massive, 11-foot flower stalks, this is one of the largest Lily relatives around.  A native of eastern Australia, it is disappearing fast there due to habitat destruction.  Here in the U.S. it is rarely seen for sale.  In the right environment, it's an easy-to-grow plant - and an amazing conversation piece!

Giant Spear Lily

Over the years, the Giant Spear Lily forms a huge rosette of oversized leaves, each of which can reach 12 feet long and 9 inches wide.  The flower spikes, which appear from winter through summer, get so heavy they arch downwards.  The flower stalks in the photos are between 9 and 11 feet long!  The big blooms are 5 inches long and are a brilliant red, attracting all sorts of birds.  This is a slow-growing but very long-lived species.  A colony can live 100 years or more.

Doryanthes palmeri

The Giant Spear Lily comes from coastal Queensland and New South Wales in Australia, where temperatures are mild year-round. It's possible that it won't thrive in areas that regularly get over 85 degrees F (29C), particularly if nights are warm. It does best when protected from frost, but it is said to take 5 or 10 degrees of frost (-4C), with new growth sprouting from the roots.  It enjoys sun, although it might need some afternoon shade in strong, hot sun.  It can be grown in a pot the first few years, and moved indoors if necessary.  It likes well-draining soil and regular watering. Be patient with the Giant Spear Lily, as it will take 10-13 years to reach flowering size.

Doryanthes palmerii

Giant Spear Lily leaves

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Turquoise Puya

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