Lilium humboldtii ssp ocellatum

Sun, 10 Jun 2012 18:15:56 PDT

If any lily should give us warm (summer) dry climate growers hope for
cultivating lilies, L. humboldtii is the one. I collected a few bulbs from
a landslide along West Camino Cielo in 1998 and grew them in 'long toms' or
citrus pots about 6" wide at the top and 3ft deep. This was in much hotter
Claremont and the key seemed to be watering all year round but less in
summer. No matter what their natural landscape looks like in the dead of
summer-- often deciduous poison oak, parched Artemisia douglasiana, etc.--
their roots have access to some permanent water or moisture source. The
colony on Camino Cielo was (and is) growing from a hillside spring. As of
this writing the citrus pot-bound plants are still doing well and issue
5-6ft inflorescences each year.

I have seen smaller plants, in smaller colonies, in San Diego as well, and
not in lush montane habitat but rather a rocky dry streambed with Coast
Live Oak canopy at San Vicente Reservoir. These plants were only about 3ft
tall but larger plants could be here most likely. I'm not sure if this lily
makes it into Mexico but the southern and lower elevation populations would
be well worth experimenting with for garden adaptability as well as
infraspecific and interspecific breeding.


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