Lilium formosanum advice

Started by Leo, August 27, 2022, 03:40:08 PM

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I bought a Lilium formosanum seedling from Annie's Annuals this spring. I kept it inside my house in a window. It went on to produce one flower in the shipping pot, which is 4" square and low. That is the first time in 38 years at this house a member of genus Lilium has flowered, inside or out.

After flowering the top gradually died down. Today I unpotted it and found a small lily bulb about the size of a Queen Anne cherry.

I have repotted it to a tall, narrow 2-gallon nursery container. I don't know the natural history of these. It is still good and hot here. Should I expect it to grow again this season, or is it likely to remain dormant until Spring? I know I should never let Lilium bulbs in a pot dry completely.

Steve Willson

Hello Leo - I know that there have been several replies to your query on the PBS Lists thread, but I thought I would comment here.  I grow L. formosanum var. pricei (the short form) and also L. philippinense, a tall form similar to L. formosanum.  These bulbs have a short winter dormancy, so I would keep your bulb in a shady spot and keep it watered, but only when it begins to dry out.  L. formosanum can withstand several degrees of frost, so you shouldn't be concerned about its winter hardiness.  I would expect it to resume into growth in early spring with you.

L. formosanum is easy to grow from seed and will typically flower in 2-3 years from sowing.  Jan Jeddeloh mentioned: Lilium formosanum advice
Jan Jeddeloh via pbs (Wed, 31 Aug 2022 14:59:46 PDT)

I offered seed of L. formosanum v. pricei in SX 480. It was donated by Steve Wilson. Not much interest at the time. Maybe this thread will perk up interest in lilies in general.

Here's a picture of mine from last summer.  They make a nice plant for a border.  

Steve Willson

Earlier today Robin wrote:

R Hansen via pbs (Fri, 02 Sep 2022 08:10:46 PDT)

For all of you who grow Lilium formosanum, I get the distinct impression that they are self-pollinating? Or am I wrong? I understand nearly all or all lilies are not self-pollinating but would dearly like to know if any are.
Robin Hansen

There has been some discussion of this topic on other lily forums in the past, particularly those species that set seed apomictically.   My understanding is that lilies are not self-fertile, but several lily species are prone to apomixis, which is different to being self-fertile as apomictic seed development does not involve fertilization .  Lilium regale and candidum are prone to this (L. regale famously so), and I believe that L. formosanum is too, particularly as other respondents to this discussion have noted that they have obtained seeds from nursery-supplied bulbs which almost always are from cloned stock.  Other species prone to apomixis include L. pumilum, martagons and also sometimes - so I understand - L. michiganense and canadense, though these last cases may be due to some environmental stress factors. 
Hope this helps.
Steve Willson, Bow WA

Rick R.

I continue to ask Lilium experts how do you know that a species is self-pollinating or is freely apomictic?
Haven't found anyone with an answer yet.  Apparently, no one seems to care and there has been no scientific testing that I can find. 

That said, L. formosanum is generally spoken of as self-fertile and L. regale as freely apomictic.  I did find one instance of a report from the US Fish & Wildlife Service that L. occidentale is self-fertile.  Although the writer does realize this is a rare occurrence in the genus, I am not sure if the report is credible as it is mentioned only in passing.  There are also instances for several other Lilium spp. where apomixis has been documented, but the impetus is not well understood and it can't be predicted, as far as I know.  After L. formosanum and L. regale, L. pumilum and L. martagon have the next highest probability, but there is a huge gap between the two pairs of Lilium spp.

For L. candidum, it seems to be clone specific.

And yes, I have recently read about the apomictic (or self-fertile) possibility of L. wardii.  Although, don't get your hopes up too much:  fat Lilium pods void of viable seed is not uncommon, especially if they are hybrids.

I keep a running list of this characteristic on a spread sheet, and I would be interested to know your results with wardii, if you could keep us updated.
Just west of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. USDA Zone 4b

Neil Jordan

I am interested in the comments re Lilium wardii. I have grown many of this Lily for over 30 years now. In all that time I have only very rarely had seed set on any bulb unless I hand pollinated it, in which case it takes readily. I am aware that in Australia there are many clones that derive from bulblets of the one bulb & will not set seed unless pollen is avaoilable from a seed-grown bulb. 
After many years of attempting hybrids from L. wardii, In 2015 I finally managed to get crosses using pollen from L. lijiangense via embryo rescue (images attached). I have registered the group as Orient Charm Group. However, they are not stable at this time. I continue to pursue these crosses.

Rick R.

The Oriental Charm group is incredibly cute.
How do you mean: "not stable"?
Just west of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. USDA Zone 4b

Neil Jordan

Many of this cross have not survived after almost a decade. The remainder I await our summer season to decide.
Some of this is probably due to some poor quality beds that were not as good as they are now.
However, anything that has been done can, and will, be done again. I think there is an interesting, untapped potential for the small pendant Lilium species of South-Western China & surrounds. We need to develop our understanding of these gems.

Rick R.

Agreed.  And the special curling and long dark center color of the tepals in lijiangense are very fetching features.
Just west of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. USDA Zone 4b