Hymenocallis caribaea ‘variegata’: Variegated spider lily

Family: Amaryllidaceae
Common name: Variegated spider-lily, Caribbean spider-lily

Variegated spider lily plants are beautiful additions to your garden with their thick, glossy, green, and ivory leaves, and striking white flowers. They are very similar to other spider lily plants like Hymenocallis littoralis, except for the variegated, shorter leaves.

These plants can grow to a height of 70-80 cms with long strappy leaves, the older ones bending a little, the younger ones more upright. Leaves are green in the center and creamish-yellow or ivory colored on both edges.

Flowers are produced on long, cylindrical stalks, in bunches of 10-12, all of them at the same height. Variegated spider lily flowers have 6 white, long, thin petals, which are merged at the center to form a thin, delicate cup. They look like giant white spiders, giving the plant its name Spider lily.

Stamens are prominent, orange in color, held aloft on thin, green and white stalks. A long style arises from the center of the flower ending in a blunt tip.

These flowers are bright and aromatic, attracting bees, butterflies, and other insects that help pollinate them. Variegated spider lily plants are native to the African continent but are now grown as ornamental plants in many countries around the world, especially in tropical weather.

These plants like a high amount of moisture and are good plants to grow near ponds and water bodies in the garden. Variegated spider lily plants thrive in partial sunlight and well-drained soil. They are relatively easy-maintenance plants that don’t need too much care and attention.

These plants form large clumps through new bulbs that branch out from the parent plant, and are hence grown as border plants or along the edges of the garden. The beautiful, glossy, variegated leaves can make them the highlight of your garden, even when they are not flowering.

They are resistant to pest infections and stay healthy for many years through small plants that grow around the parent plants. The most interesting feature is that this plant can even grow underwater, making them superb aquarium plants.

Propagation is through bulbs, and by replanting suckers that grow beside the parent plant. Bulbs can be dug up and stored in a cool, dry place to be used during the next season.