Notholirion thomsonianum

Jane McGary
Thu, 21 Apr 2011 10:44:24 PDT
Jim McKenney and his friend reported on Notholirion thomsonianum, 
which they obtained from me. I grew it from seed a long time ago.

Jim, be sure to tell your friend that the flowering bulb itself will 
now die, and the plant will continue from the offsets. There should 
be a lot of offsets, but most of them will be very small, oval 
bulblets with the characteristic corrugated dark brown tunic. Best to 
lift the cluster of bulbs after the foliage withers and spread the 
offsets out a bit so they'll gain flowering size. It takes about 5 
years for the smallest offsets to reach flowering size, but usually 
the maturing bulb makes offsets every year, so if it's well suited 
there will be a succession of bloom once you get it going. I haven't 
ever had a plant set seed; perhaps the temperature regime here isn't 
right for it.

This species has very pretty, narrowly funnel-shaped flowers of an 
unusual buff-lavender color, and they're also fragrant. The only 
undesirable thing about this species is its long, floppy foliage -- 
you have to keep it away from smaller plants or it will smother them.

There are still plants in the ground at my former garden (which will 
probably have the For Sale sign on it until all the foreclosures in 
the county get sold to the bargain hunters), and of course I brought 
it with me to the new garden. It survived 9 degrees F this past 
winter in the open, growing in very well drained soil. It is most 
likely to flower if given a dry summer dormancy. I think other 
species of Notholirion are not dry-summer plants.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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