Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Plant of the Week: Spider Lily (Hymenocallis occidentalis)

This lovely plant looks like ballerinas dancing and delighting with six white petals that form a cup or ballerina skirt.  It is quite easy to grow in the garden and the 2 - 3" wide flowers are definitely show stoppers and when it begins flowering in July, it can make the best specimen plant weep because it will be far showier than most other plants in the garden at this time of year. It is the cup (corona) that gives the species its genus name, Hymenocallis, which refers to a "beautiful membrane."  The normal habitat for this species in Kentucky is generally out west and can be found at the edge of wet woods or meadows.  It typically begins flowering in mid-to late July and by the time it flowers. the long, strap-like foliage has almost disappeared, like other species in the Amaryllis family.  It grows to a couple feet in height and over time the bulbs can be divided and you can make a nice patch in an area that gets full sunlight or some late afternoon shade.  While it naturally grows in wet habitats, that is not a requirement for growing this species in the garden.  Give it lots of mulch and compost and it can tolerate clay to some extent.  If you want an exotic look in the garden, plant this in a mixture of Cinnamon and Royal Ferns, cardinal flower, and great blue lobelia.  This is an excellent rain garden species.  If you want something flowering early in the year, plant some of the native iris, southern blue flag, copper, or zig zag close by and you will be richly rewarded.

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