Lilium formosanum

Jim McKenney
Wed, 20 Aug 2008 09:42:14 PDT
Although I share Jim Waddick’s enthusiasm for Lilium formosanum, I would
have presented some of that information a bit differently.


First of all, Lilium formosanum is hardly anything new. It’s been widely
grown and appreciated since the late nineteenth century, when it made the
rounds as Lilium philippense formosanum. Never trust seeds offered as L.
philippinense if you want the true L. philippinense – there’s a good chance
you’ll get L. formosanum. Lilium formosanum has been in cultivation so long
that it is widely naturalized in some places far from its original home –
such as southern Africa and Australia. 


As Jim says, it’s a very beautiful lily and, in some respects, very easily


With all that going for it, why isn’t it in every garden? 


This lily has one significant defect: it’s very virus prone. The best
plantings are almost always in gardens where there are no other lilies which
might serve as a source of virus infection. 


Another anomaly: although as Jim mentions it’s easy and quick from seed (and
yes, as he says, late winter sown seed will sometimes bloom the  fall of the
same year), bulbs in commerce are hardly cheap as lilies go. And like other
lilies quick and easy from seed, individual plants often prove to be short


Something else to be aware of: several horticultural strains have been
available over the years. These seem to vary in time of bloom (always
erratic in this species until –or if – it settles down for you) and height.
There is a name, var. pricei, which should yield plants which stay low
(under two feet).  




Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden



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