Cultivating Lilium

Lilies are perhaps the most popular of garden flowers, although at the same time they have appeared to be neglected. The reason is perhaps that some species are difficult to cultivate in the ordinary garden, and need special treatment, or special soil. This difficulty is, however, greatly overrated and amateurs would do well to add more lilies to their collection of summer flowers. Most of them are perfectly hardy, and even those which are slightly tender can be well protected in winter by a mulch of dried leaves or light litter over the soil surface. In gardens where even this protection is insufficient, the bulbs of the more tender species can be lifted after the foliage has died down, and stored in dried soil until spring.

The best position for lilies of all kinds is in a sunny border among other growing plants such as dwarf shrubs. In their native countries

Lilies grow in such places as meadows, where the grass is tall, and where the young stems get a certain amount of protection from excessive sunshine while they are developing. Lilies will not flower well, however, unless they can get their heads into the sunshine; that is why dwarf shrubs make suitable companions.

Planting time for Lilies is usually as soon as the bulbs can be bought.

Lilium candidum the old favourite in the little cottage garden, which is such a fine feature in the mixed border, does not like rich soil and is best planted immediately after the flower stems have faded, that is at the end of July or in August, certainly not later than September. These Lilies can be grown for at least six years without lifting and dividing, and will be found to increase in beauty from year to year.

Other Lilies can be planted in autumn or in spring, according to variety and according to when they are obtainable. Large consignments of Lily bulbs come over each year from Japan and arrive in this country about New Year. These varieties cannot be planted until spring, but it is best to keep them stored in soil for a few weeks before planting. As a rule they arrive in a somewhat dried condition, and if the bulbs are set in boxes of slightly moist soil, they are in a better condition for planting when the weather breaks. Nearly all Lilies are readily increased by offsets from the bulbs. They are also easily enough increased by seeds which, however, in some cases, take several years to reach maturity. Of late, however, raising Lilies from seed has become far more popular, chiefly owing to the fact that some varieties come more quickly to flowering condition. For instance, L. regale seed will flower the season after it is sown. This method is so interesting that the amateur gardener is advised to try it. Seeds are sown in ordinary seed pots in the greenhouse just as those of other hardy plants, seedlings being kept under glass during the first winter and potted up singly as required.

Lilies are divided mainly into two classes, as regards cultural treatment. Some are stem rooting, that is to say, after the bulb has been planted it develops roots not only from the base of the bulb as in the case of a Hyacinth, but it also develops a number of roots from the stem above the top of the bulb. It is obvious that such varieties need to be planted deeper in the soil than in the case of those which grow roots from the base of the bulb only. This distinction in habit of growth also makes a difference in the treatment of the Lily in pots. In the case of stem-rooting varieties grown in pots it is a common practice to pot the bulb in the ordinary way, but in a pot large enough to allow the soil surface to be at least half-way down in the pot.

In the matter of soil, Lilies vary somewhat in their requirements. The Madonna Lily will not thrive unless there is a proportion of lime in the soil. Certain other Lilies also like some lime, or are not adverse to its presence. But some Lilies will not tolerate any lime and require a sandy, peaty loam.

The brief list of the most popular and easily grown Lilies is given below together with a note on the cultural requirements of each:

L. auratum (Golden-rayed Lily of Japan) has snowy-white flowers conspicuously marked with yellow, purple and crimson. It needs a light loam and leaf-mould in a partially shady position.

L. a. platyphyllum, has larger flowers, but not so freely spotted as L. auratum. 8-10 ft. high.

L. Batananna. Needs a sunny or partial shady position in loam and leaf-mould. Flowers, a delightful shade of glowing apricot.

L. Brownii. A rather rare variety. Has flowers 10 in. long of pure white, outside deep chocolate-brown.

L. chalcedonicum. One of the easiest to grow. Can remain undisturbed for several years. Flowers of rich scarlet.

L. croceum (the Orangeman’s Lily). Rich orange flowers spotted black, growing to a height of 3-1/2 ft. Formerly very common but now scarce. (Those sold under this name in cheap markets sometimes turn out to be L. umbellatum.)

L. Hansonii, an easily grown species, thriving in either sun or shade. Golden yellow flowers, 4-6 ft. high, in June and July.

L. Henryi, Japanese species growing 10-12 ft. high. Easily grown in almostl any position, preferring a friable loam. Large flowers of deep orange-yellow in August and September.

L. Krameri, likes a shady position in loam, sand and leaf-mould. Large trumpet flowers pale pink, rose-blush or white.

L. longiflorum nobile, easily grown in pots for house decoration, or in the herbaceous border. Best in loam sand and leaf-mould. Large snow-white flowers about 7 in. long, 2-3 ft. high.

L. Maximowiezii, a late flowering Lily with vivid orange-red flowers. This variety prefers a partially-shaded position in loam and leaf-mould. L. martagon, favoured for border decoration. Flowers of light purple-rose, freely spotted dark purple.

L. m. album (The Old White Martagon), an exceptionally fine variety with snow-white flowers, beautifully reflexed, showing its rich golden yellow anthers.

L. philippincnse, needs sandy loam, full sun. Invaluable for pot culture. Flowers snow-white, 2-½ —3 ft., in July and August.

L. Pyrenaicum, a good border iily which can be successfully grown in any sunny border. Has crowded heads of small reflexed flowers of pale yellow, freely spotted maroon.

L. pardalinum requires a damp position, sandy peat, with plenty of drainage. Large pendant flowers of bright scarlet, shaded orange, freely spotted maroon. 6-10 ft. high.

L. regale, the finest of all Lilies for the ordinary garden. Does not object to lime, but must not be dressed with manure. Can be raised from seed. July. 3-6 ft. high.

L. speciosum, very beautiful for border decoration or pot culture. Easily grown in any sunny border in good friable loam but is even better for pot culture. The variety “rubrum” is rather more colourful than the type. August-September. 3-4 it. High.

L. magnificum, ruby-red, margined with white, each flower 8 in. or more across.

L. m, melpomene, stout branching stems bearing large open reflexed flowers, rosy-crimson spotted purple.

L. superbum, a species fond of a damp spot in leaf-mould or peat. Large flowers, brilliant orange freely spotted maroon-crimson. July-August. 6-8 ft. high.

L. tenuifolium, a dainty Siberian species, growing only 18-24 in-high. Has slender leaf stems bearing scarlet flowers. This species prefers a sunny, well-drained spot in sandy loam and leaf-mould.

L. Thunbergianum, a dwarf species growing 9-in. High, admirable for the rockery or border, also easily cultivated in pots. Prefers a sandy loam in a sunny position. The cup-shaped flowers, produced in July, are in shades of orange and red. “Orange Queen” is one of the best varieties.

L. T. semi plena is a very pretty semi-double variety.

L. tigrinum, needs a sunny or partially shaded position in good loamy soil. Invaluable for border decoration. Produces gaudy flowers in August and September.

L. t. plenum, the old double Tiger Lily, with large flowers of brilliant orange scarlet freely spotted black.

L. t. giganteum, the giant of the group, produces stately stems 5-6 ft. high, bearing flowers of bright orange-scarlet spotted maroon, during September.

L. umbellatum, these are hardy, easily grown, thriving in almost any soil, and preferring a sunny position. Invaluable for pot culture. Orange-red flowers during June and July.

L. u. erectwn, vigorous growing variety with large open flowers of rich red. 2 ft. high.

L. u. grandiflorum, large, open, cup-shaped flowers, of bright red flushed orange, 2 ft. high.

L. u. splendens, large, open flowers, reddish vermilion flushed orange.

04. September 2013 by admin
Categories: Fruit Gardening, Kitchen Gardens, Uncategorized, Vegetable Gardening | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Cultivating Lilium

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