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Giant Spear Lily

Doryanthes palmeri

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Giant Spear Lily (Doryanthes palmeri) at Roger's Gardens

Giant Spear Lily

Giant Spear Lily

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Giant Spear Lily (Doryanthes palmeri) at Roger's Gardens

Giant Spear Lily

Giant Spear Lily

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  8 feet

Spread:  6 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  9a

Other Names:  Doryanthes excelsa var. palnieri


A large, clumping plant with huge, sword-like leaves that features summer blooming clusters of crimson-red flowers, rising on arching spikes; locate in full sun, but will tolerate some shade; takes about 5 years to flower

Ornamental Features

Giant Spear Lily features bold spikes of fragrant crimson trumpet-shaped flowers rising above the foliage from early to mid spring. Its attractive large textured sword-like leaves remain dark green in color throughout the year.

Landscape Attributes

Giant Spear Lily is an open herbaceous evergreen perennial with a mounded form. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other garden plants with finer foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and may require the occasional pruning to look its best. It is a good choice for attracting birds, bees and butterflies to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Giant Spear Lily is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Giant Spear Lily will grow to be about 8 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 6 feet. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live to a ripe old age of 100 years or more; think of this as a heritage perennial for future generations! As an evegreen perennial, this plant will typically keep its form and foliage year-round.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is not originally from North America.

Giant Spear Lily is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its height, it is often used as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Rock  Garden  Container 
Flowers  Foliage Color  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features