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Publication #FPS260

Hymenocallis latifolia Spider Lily1

Edward F. Gilman2


Hymenocallis latifolia is a Florida native that is popular for its exceptional foliage and snow-white flowers (Fig. 1). This clumping, herbaceous perennial reaches a height of 2 to 3 feet. It has 3-foot-long, dark green, linear leaves that grow directly from an underground bulb. Numerous, white flowers appear above these attractive leaves in the summer and fall. The fragrant, long lasting flowers have a 6-inch-long flower tube with narrow, long, recurving sepals and petals. The upright filaments of these delicate flowers are connected by a gossamer web. Large, ovoid capsules that produce viable seeds appear on this plant after flowering has ceased.

Figure 1. 


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Hymenocallis latifolia
Pronunciation: hye-men-oh-KAL-liss lat-tif-FOLE-ee-uh
Common name(s): Spider-Lily
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Plant type: bulb/tuber; herbaceous
USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: mass planting; border; accent; edging
Availablity: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range
Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential pllanting range.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spread: 3 to 5 feet
Plant habit: upright
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: fast
Texture: coarse


Leaf arrangement: basal rosette
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: linear
Leaf venation: parallel
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: 18 to 36 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: white
Flower characteristic: pleasant fragrance; summer flowering

Figure 3. 

Flower of Spider-Lily

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Fruit shape: oval
Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches
Fruit cover: dry or hard
Fruit color: unknown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: usually with one stem/trunk
Current year stem/twig color: not applicable
Current year stem/twig thickness: not applicable


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: well-drained; alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: poor
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

This fast growing plant creates a wonderful, tall ground cover that readily reseeds itself. A solid ground cover can form within 2 years after planting on 3- to 5-feet centers. It is also nicely suited for planting as a specimen in a small garden. Flowers and foliage both attract attention. This makes a nice addition to any landscape.

Plant in full sun or partial shade on well-drained, basic, sandy loam soils. The Spider Lily is very tolerant of drought and salt spray but will not endure cold temperatures. It is great for south Florida and will do well in coastal landscapes.

The Spider Lily is generally propagated by bulb divisions.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern.



This document is FPS260, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed March 2015. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.