Summer Blooming Bulbs – Lily Bulbs

Summer Blooming Bulbs – Lilium/Lily Bulbs

Lily bulbs are some of the most beautiful of all of the summer blooming bulbs. The lilies are unsurpassed for grace, beauty and majesty. Those that can be grown in the open garden have an exotic appearance that no other garden plants can match.

Lilies are capricious plants: it is not uncommon to find that one particular species will thrive in one garden and will simply not grow in the garden next door. On the other hand, there are so many species and hybrids, that some of the easier sorts are certain to thrive in every garden. The story that lilies will only grow in shade is a myth: the great majority are found in the wild growing in full sun, but with their roots shaded either by loose rocks or low-growing vegetation.

Lilium auratum v. virginale summer blooming bulbs Nor is it true that you can’t grow lilies in a limy soil: there are many species and some hybrids that will only thrive in limy soils. In general, however, the structure of the soil is more important than its chemical composition. The ideal soil is one made up of about equal parts of leaf-mould, garden soil and sand. The ground should be thoroughly prepared to a depth of 18 inches. Lilies like plenty of moisture at the roots during their growing season, though like other bulbs they quickly rot if there is stagnant water in the soil. They are best grown in clearings between shrubs. In general lilies should be planted 4-6 inches deep, and given a liberal mulch of peat or leaf-mould every autumn. Once planted they should not be disturbed.

Many lilies have very heavy flower-heads, and need staking: care should be taken not to drive the stake through the bulb. Planting is normally done in late summer or autumn, and propagation may be carried out by means of seed sown in a cold frame as soon as ripe, or else by scales inserted in sand in pots or pans and kept in a cold-frame until established.

Many lily bulbs are also suitable for cultivation in pots. Large pots should be selected, varying in size from 6-10 inches, according to the size of the bulb. The bulbs should be covered with about an inch of soil and then plunged in ashes or in the cold frame until the stem is about an inch high. They can then either be stood in a shaded part of the garden or brought indoors. Watering should be done with care, the object being to keep the soil perpetually moist without ever allowing it to become waterlogged.

The following list is only a selection of the less capricious sorts:

Lilium amabile, 3-4 feet, martagon (turk’s cap) type flowers red or orange speckled black, June – July. Lime-tolerant, and flourishes among herbaceous plants: easily be increased by seed.

Lilium auratum, The Golden-rayed Lily of Japan: one of the loveliest of all lilies, 4-8 feet tall, bearing as many as 20 flowers on each stem, each flower measuring as much as 10-12 inches across; flowers are white or yellow with purple, crimson or brown markings: August, September or October. All named forms are good.

Lilium candidum, The Madonna Lily, the floral emblem of the Madonna: the oldest of all cultivated lilies it will flourish in almost any soil and in almost any garden, but seems to do best in a sunny situation with some lime in the soil. The 3-5 foot stem produces in June – July several large white trumpet-shaped flowers with golden stamens: it should be planted in. August so that the leaves, which last over winter, can build up strength in the bulb for the following season. It hardly ever produces fertile seed.

Lilium candidum ‘Plenum’ a double form, is curious rather than attractive. Lilium henryi bear 10-20 martagon type flowers on each 5-8 foot stem, the flowers being a brilliant orange speckled black. Thrives on a heavily limed soil, but will not flourish on an acid soil, and peat is virtually fatal to it.

Lilium martagon, the Turk’s Cap Lily. Sun or shade, lime or acid soils, produces its relatively small flowers freely in June and July: pink to deepest claret, and palest pinks to pure white. Comes easily from seed, but seedlings take 7 or 8 years to flower.

Lilium pardalinum, beautiful North American species, completely hardy, one of the easiest to grow. The flowers are of the martagon type, but larger, bright orange with brown spots, 5 to 20 per stem on stems 3-7 feet high. July flowering. Needs a deep, rich soil.

Lilium pumilum (Lilium tenuifolium) Siberian Coral Lily. Charming diminutive species growing scarcely more than 12-18 inches and bearing in June numerous martagon type flowers of the most vibrant orange. Easily increased by seed, seedlings taking two to three years to flower: most effective massed. Plant in a sunny, sandy position.

Lilium pyrenaicum ‘The Pyrenean Lily’ or ‘Stinking Willy’. This easy lily bears numerous greenish-yellow black-spotted flowers in May or June on stems 2-3 feet high. There is also a ‘red’ form with orange flowers. An easy, hardy species, tolerant of most soils and situations.

Lilium speciosum closely related to Lilium auratum, but smaller-growing, producing in August and September 5-10 very large, scented flowers with recurved petals on stems 1 to 4 feet high. The flowers have a most exotic appearance and are very variable in colour.

Lilium superbum, 15-20 orange martagon type flowers produced in July and August on stems 4-8 feet high: very like Lilium pardalinum. Easy to grow, but dislikes chalk or lime.

Lilium tigrinum, the well-known Tiger Lily. Shares with the Madonna Lily the honour of being one of the oldest cultivated lilies, having been grown as a root-crop by the Chinese for the past thousand years or more. The 2-4 foot stem produces 10-12 orange-red flowers with brown or black spots in the centre and flowers between July and September. Easy in moist, peaty soil planted 6 to 8 inches deep in full sun: Seeds are usually sterile, but it can easily be propagated by means of the bulbils produced in the leaf-axils: these simply need potting up in a sandy soil until established.

There are also many hybrid lily bulbs now available, among the best of which are the Bellingham Hybrids: these are very robust, growing 4-8 feet high and blooming in July. They bear masses of large orange, red and yellow flowers with reflexed petals. They do best in full sun in a moist, peaty soil. The Mid-Century Hybrids are also very robust, easy to grow and floriferous. Blossoming in July, the 3-5 foot stems bear 6-10 wide open trumpet-shaped flowers which are either upright or horizontal, in a wide range of colours from white to deepest purple. They need a semi-shaded position, and although they will grow on chalk soils, dislike too much chalk or lime. The ‘Olympic Hybrids’: these have been produced by crossing lily bulbs with the martagon type flower with trumpet-flowered lily bulbs, and the flowers vary between these two extremes. In the main these hybrids grow 3-5 feet and flower between July and August. Colours range from white to deep pink. They are hardy and easy to grow.

24. November 2010 by admin
Categories: Bulbs and Corms, Plants | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Summer Blooming Bulbs – Lily Bulbs

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