Gymea Lily Doryanthes palmeri

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
spear lily


The plant commonly known as the Giant Spear Lily has a striking and robust appearance. It features long, sword-like leaves that form a dense rosette, arching gracefully out from the plant's central base. The dark green, leathery leaves give the plant a formidable texture and shape, creating a dramatic visual presence. The Giant Spear Lily is most famous for its spectacular flowering stalk. The flower spike emerges on a sturdy stem that rises boldly above the foliage. Adorned with hundreds of small, star-shaped flowers, the blossoms are typically a vibrant red or pink color, attracting various pollinators to its nectar-rich blooms. The flowers are densely clustered and present a magnificent display that adds a dramatic flair to any setting where the plant is grown. The seed pods that follow the flowers are also an eye-catching feature, starting green and drying to a brown color, often remaining on the plant for a long time before they split open to release their seeds. Overall, the Giant Spear Lily's distinctive leaves and remarkable flower spike make it an unforgettable plant, easily recognizable and often used as an ornamental centerpiece in gardens where it can accommodate its extensive foliage spread.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Giant Spear Lily, Flame Lily, Queensland Spear Lily, Palmer's Spear Lily

    • Common names

      Doryanthes palmeri

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Giant Spear Lily is generally not considered toxic to humans. There are no well-documented cases of poisoning from ingesting any part of this plant, and it does not typically pose a threat to human health in that respect.

    • To pets

      For pets, the Giant Spear Lily is also not known to be poisonous. It is not commonly reported to cause any significant toxic reactions in pets if ingested. However, as with any non-food plant, ingestion can potentially cause mild stomach upset or an allergic reaction in some animals. If you suspect your pet has ingested a significant amount of the plant and is showing adverse symptoms, consult with a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      10 feet [3 meters]

    • Spread

      6 feet [2 meters]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental value: Doryanthes palmeri, known as the Giant Spear Lily, has striking foliage and spectacular tall flowering spikes that make it a dramatic addition to garden landscapes.
    • Drought tolerance: The Giant Spear Lily is extremely drought-resistant once established, making it suitable for xeriscaping and dry garden environments.
    • Low maintenance: This plant requires minimal care, which is convenient for gardeners looking for plants that do not require frequent attention.
    • Wildlife attraction: The large red flowers of the Giant Spear Lily attract a variety of pollinators such as birds and bees, promoting biodiversity.
    • Architectural structure: The Giant Spear Lily adds structural interest to gardens with its large, sword-like leaves and can serve as a focal point in garden design.
    • Long lifespan: This plant is known for its longevity, often living and thriving for many years in the right conditions.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Spectacular garden feature: The Giant Spear Lily is often used as a striking ornamental plant because of its tall flower spikes and large rosettes of leaves that can create a dramatic visual impact in gardens and landscaped areas.
    • Cultural significance: In certain Australian Aboriginal cultures, the Giant Spear Lily may be used in ceremonial practices or as a part of traditional storytelling.
    • Teaching tool: Botanical gardens and educational institutions sometimes utilize the Giant Spear Lily to teach about unique flora endemic to Australia, as well as to demonstrate plant adaptations to fire-prone environments.
    • Fire-adaptive landscape design: This plant is incorporated into fire-sensitive landscaping to study its adaptations to survive fires and its capability to regenerate after being burnt.
    • Floral arrangements: The towering flower spikes of the Giant Spear Lily can be used in large-scale floral arrangements or as a statement piece in floral art.
    • Ecotourism attraction: Its striking appearance and unique flowering process can attract nature enthusiasts, contributing to ecotourism initiatives where it grows naturally.
    • Habitat restoration: The species can be used in restoration projects as it is native to Australia, helping to recreate or maintain indigenous ecosystems.
    • Photography subject: Its unique form and flower structure make the Giant Spear Lily a popular subject for botanical and landscape photographers.
    • Erosion control: Due to its large size and extensive root system, the Giant Spear Lily can be used to stabilize soil in areas at risk of erosion.
    • Pollinator support: The Giant Spear Lily provides nectar to a variety of native birds and insects, thus playing a role in supporting local pollinator populations.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Giant Spear Lily is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Giant Spear Lily is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Doryanthes palmeri, commonly known as the Giant Spear Lily, has the ability to tolerate harsh conditions by storing moisture and nutrients in its large base, symbolizing the ability to endure and thrive despite challenges.
    • Longevity: The Giant Spear Lily can live for many years, developing large and impressive flower spikes after a long period, representing longevity and the reward of patience over time.
    • Protection: Its long, sword-like leaves can reach impressive lengths and are very tough, symbolizing protection and defense against adversity.
    • Spectacle: The spectacular size of its flowering spikes, which can reach up to 5 meters, makes the Giant Spear Lily a symbol of natural wonder and the extraordinary feats of nature.

Every 2-3 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Giant spear lily prefers to be watered thoroughly but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between watering sessions. During active growth in the spring and summer, watering every one to two weeks should suffice, using approximately two gallons per plant for mature specimens. During the cooler months, reduce watering to once a month or less, depending on the humidity and rainfall in your area. Always check the top inch of soil for dryness before watering to prevent overwatering.

  • sunLight

    Giant spear lily thrives in full sun to partial shade conditions. Ideally, it should receive at least six hours of sunlight daily. If planted in a garden, locate it in a spot where it has access to ample morning sunlight and some afternoon shade to protect it from the harshest rays, especially in very hot climates.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Giant spear lily is hardy and can tolerate a temperature range from about 20 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal growing temperature for this plant is between 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important to protect the plant from frost, so if temperatures dip below freezing, appropriate protection or moving the plant to a sheltered location is necessary.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning giant spear lily is mainly done to remove dead or damaged foliage and spent flower stalks to maintain its appearance and health. Prune in the late winter or early spring, before the onset of new growth. It's not necessary to prune this plant frequently; once a year is usually sufficient. The best time for pruning is when you first notice dead leaves or after the plant has finished flowering.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Giant Spear Lily thrives in well-draining, sandy loam soil with good aeration. A soil mix containing equal parts of coarse sand, loam, and peat or compost is ideal. The recommended soil pH range for the Giant Spear Lily is slightly acidic to neutral, between 6.0 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Giant Spear Lily, or Gymea Lily, is a slow-growing plant that typically requires repotting every 3-5 years. However, due to its potential size, it may be best to repot only when the pot is completely filled with roots or the plant has become too top-heavy.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    The Giant Spear Lily prefers moderate to high humidity levels but is quite adaptable and can tolerate less humid conditions. It does not have specific high humidity requirements, making it suitable for typical outdoor environments where it naturally grows.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, well-draining soil, and space for Giant Spear Lily growth.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-drained soil, full sun to part shade for Giant Spear Lily.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Spear Lily (Doryanthes palmeri) begins its life cycle as a seed that germinates in well-drained soil, often in spring or after a fire event which breaks seed dormancy. As a slow-growing plant, it spends the first few years developing a rosette of long, strap-like leaves, which can reach up to 3 meters in length. The plant continues to grow vegetatively for several years, storing energy in a large underground stem. After many years, typically when the plant is between 10 to 13 years old, it sends up a tall flower spike, reaching up to 5 meters high, with hundreds of red or maroon flowers. The flowers are pollinated by birds and insects, leading to the formation of seed capsules, which eventually dry and release seeds for reproduction. After flowering, which may occur infrequently and not every year, the individual rosette that has bloomed will usually die, but the plant can produce offsets or 'pups' which will continue the growth cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to summer

    • The Spear Lily, or Doryanthes palmeri, is most commonly propagated by seed. Propagation by seeds is usually performed in spring or autumn to allow for optimum germination conditions. To propagate Spear Lily from seeds, the seeds should be sown in well-draining soil mix, lightly covered with soil, and kept moist until germination, which typically takes a few weeks. Once the seedlings have developed a few true leaves and have grown strong enough, they can be carefully transplanted to individual pots or directly into the ground if the climate is suitable. It's important to provide the young plants with ample water and to protect them from extreme temperatures to encourage healthy growth.