Lilium humboldtii ssp ocellatum

Jane McGary
Sun, 10 Jun 2012 15:22:52 PDT
Two years ago I bought seed of Lilium humboldtii ssp ocellatum from 
the Theodore Payne Foundation. Nearly every seed germinated and grew 
on, and I now have quite a few robust seedlings. I'd like to plant 
them out this fall, but research has me confused about their 
preferred habitat. The Payne Foundation's website describes the 
habitat as clearings in yellow pine forest and chaparral, and 
emphasizes that the plants should be dry in summer. The text on the 
PBS wiki says the plants are often found on streamsides. I don't know 
if the "streams" are seasonal or year-round, however. What can others 
tell me about this?

I'm developing the top of a steep bank in my new garden as a 
chaparral, or garrigue if you prefer the European term, habitat, with 
scattered drought-tolerant shrubs such as Arctostaphylos and Cistus 
spp., punctuated by weathered large rocks from my former (still for 
sale!) home. The soil is nutrient-poor but well "tilled" by the roots 
of the Douglas firs that used to grow there. I'm mulching it with 
small gravel. Among the shrubs I've added some shrubby penstemons and 
other suitable perennials, and of course bulbs. I wish I could put in 
some small species tulips, which would look perfect, but I won't buy 
commercial tulips because of the possibility of spreading viruses to 
my lilies (I have a lot of others, and I can grow them now that I 
have no deer and rabbits). If this is a suitable habitat for L. 
humboldtii, I'd like to plant the young lilies in groups between the shrubs.

By the way, don't tell me I can't grow these southern California 
lilies in Oregon. The new place is in a banana belt, and I am 
positively reveling in zone denial.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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