Pancratium illyricum, also known as the sea lily, Pancratium and marine narcissus, is a spontaneous plant belonging to the Amaryllidaceae family. It has a tunic bulb with dimensions between 16 and 20 cm and has flowers with a double corolla similar to narcissus but much more elegant. It has long ribbon-like leaves with a bright green color. It blooms in the middle of summer, with a very pure white. Pancratius has Mediterranean origins: in Italy it grows easily along the coastal strips. The fruit of the plant appears as a large capsule containing seeds of black color. The flower of the sea lily is shaped like an umbrella. It is white with green streaks. It is particularly fragrant and blooms during the summer. The height of the plant is about 60 cm. The leaves are green.
The cultivation of pancratium illyricum is quite simple. In fact, thanks to its resistance it adapts perfectly to cultivation in the open ground. If grown in the garden it can create beautiful roundish cushions. If grown in pots, it will tend to have smaller dimensions. As for the exposure, he prefers very bright and sunny areas. It needs warm summer seasons to show its splendid flowering. If the summer is rather cool, the flowers will appear but in a decidedly reduced number. It can withstand temperatures even below 0 °. Watering should be done only when the soil has been completely dry for several days.
The ideal soil for the cultivation of sea lily is sandy and very well drained. It must also present a rather important percentage of organic substance. The planting period is autumn or spring; as regards the depth necessary for the cultivation of the bulbs it is good to know that the head of the bulb itself must be placed upwards and must be covered with a layer of about 6/8 cm of earth. It is advisable to maintain a distance of about 30 cm between one bulb and another. During the spring season, it is important to supply the plant with a specific fertilizer for bulbous or flowering plants.
Pancratium propagation occurs by seed or division after flowering. Seedlings can flower in their third or fourth year of life.
Pancratium has different varieties. Among the most known we remember:
- P.Canadiensis, the leaves are lanceolate, the glaucous green color and the flowering appears white.
- P.zeylanicum, the lanceolate leaves, of a length approximately 30 cm. This species blooms in June, giving the garden an intense aroma. It is suitable for warmer climates or cultivated in greenhouses.
- P. illyricum, elongated leaves and white flowers that can be appreciated in June.
- P. verecundum, arched leaves 60 cm long, very fragrant flowers visible in the summer season. It is a species that loves the heat.
- P. maritimum, linear leaves and white flowers. Flowering in June.
- P. trianthum, linear leaves and flowers gathered in tufts. The bulbs are rather small. Spring or summer flowering.
Sea lily, Pancratius - Pancratium illyricum: Pests and diseases
Pancratium illyricum fears root rot. This is caused by water stagnation or excessive watering. The bulbs should be stored in rather cool and dry places until the time the plant is installed.