Sprouting Lilium bulbs

oooOIOooo via pbs pbs@lists.pacificbulbsociety.net
Fri, 10 Apr 2020 17:41:05 PDT
I have tried many times over the years to grow Lilium from bulbs here in Phoenix. I recognize they wish cooler roots and bright light for the tops. I have read many types need a substantial period of cold temperatures to induce rooting, which is why they are best planted in fall. I have tried what are sold as Oriental and Asiatic lilies, since their ancestors seem to come from warmer climates, like southern China and Taiwan.

I have planted commercial hybrids in the ground and in pots when I can buy them locally in the fall. I have planted some arriving mail-order in spring in pots. It appears mail-order bulbs are only avalable in spring.

I have tried planting both spring- and fall-bought edible shrink-wrapped lilies from a local Chinese market, in pots and in the ground. They are packaged so it is often hard to see both the basal plate and the tip, Usually the packager has made attempts to cut out both, but I have found bulbs with substantial amounts of basal plate.

In winter 2018-2019 I bought 3 bulbs of L. auratum from America Meadows and put them into a 15-gallon pot as soon as they arrived, rooting and shooting, last March.

Not one of all these lilies ever broke above the ground.

In January I emptied the L. auratum pot and found two small bulbs with small roots, and no shoots. I replanted them in the 15-gallon pot. They have not broken the ground yet. I called the company and asked when they might sprout. They told me they would send me some more, and in Zone 9 lilies need to go into the ground.

Last spring I bought a seedling L. formosanum from Annie's Annuals. I figured this would be warm-growing lily. It arrived healthy. I put that into a 15-gallon pot. My intention was to bring it into the house during hot weather and see if I could keep it alive. It began growing nicely. Before it even got what I would consider hot, it died.

Last Thankgiving time I was visiting family in southern California. I wanted to make some lotus-root soup, and went to the 99 Ranch Market in Irvine, just off Interstate 5. I saw shrink-wrapped, Japanese-packaged lily bulbs, with complete basal plates and noses. I bought a pack and planted them into a 15-gallon pot.

They sprouted. I have read lilies grown for food are often clones selected to never flower. Two of the three shoots are fasciated,

And I couldn't resist another L. formosanum from Annie's. I put that into a 15-gallon pot last November and will bring it inside sooner this year.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA
Zone 9?

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