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Ismene

Ismene

From time to time it is fun to grow some unusual plants purchased from catalogs. An interesting bulb that blooms in the summer is Ismene.

Maybe I like it because, like many gardeners, I enjoy plants that have associations with people, and there was a girl in my third grade class called Ismene.

Anyway, Ismene is sometimes called by the common name of spider flower and is a member of the Amaryllis genus, and originated in the Andes. The flower looks like a lily that someone has snipped because its petals are not uniform. The two-foot plants are sturdy with strap foliage and strong flower stems.

Plant the bulbs in the spring in groups in the foreground of perennial beds or in shrub plantings. The bulbs can be set out when all danger of frost is past. Plant them 4 to 5 inches deep with 8 inches between each bulb. They grow well in most garden soils.

In cold areas of the country, the bulbs must be lifted in late autumn and stored in a frost proof area over the winter. In warm climates they can remain in the ground year round. The botanical name is Hymenocallis calathina, and the fragrant blooms can be yellow or white.

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