Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Holiday Lilies

I can’t resist the potted, blooming lilies offered at the grocery store around certain holidays (Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day). Lilies are among my favorite flowers, primarily for their scent. I figure that spending $8 on a potted lily is justified by the comparable cost of a lily bouquet. As an added bonus, I tell myself that I’m not just buying flowers for the moment, but I can plant the bulbs out in the garden and enjoy them again and again and again.

I bought the pictured lilies around Easter 2005 and parked them in the dining room, where they perfumed the house for a full two weeks. They eventually faded and, after deadheading, I moved the entire pot outside for the summer. The bulbs went dormant a little sooner than the garden-grown lilies, but that is to be expected because they began their cycle earlier. I planted the bulbs in the candy cane bed last fall. As you can see, they reappeared this spring. The treatment I gave the bulbs must have agreed with them because they have put forth vigorous growth and multiple flowers.

I also bought blooming lilies at Christmas 2005 and allowed the foliage to ripen in our sunroom. After the bulbs went dormant, I moved the pot into the garage for a cold period. When fresh growth appeared this spring, I planted the bulbs out, near the Easter bulbs. The Christmas lily has only put out two, rather spindly, stalks and will not flower this year. I suspect that the weak winter sunlight in the sunroom was not enough to reenergize the bulbs for a second bloom. Hopefully they will be stronger next year, after spending a season in the garden. (Based on the foliage, the lilies I bought at Easter and Christmas appear to be different varieties, so some of the difference may be due to genetics, not treatment.)

Easter 2006 was too early for me to judge the success of my earlier experiments, so I passed by the lovely lilies at Kroger in an effort to be budget conscience. Now that I have demonstrated the success of planting out the grocery store lilies, I won’t restrain myself again. This Christmas, our house will be filled with lilies!


Blogger snappy said...

beautiful lillies.i will have to find some.I have an amarilis bulb from last year which was totally amazing the red flower.I got it from my Nan's niece.I want to buy more this year and have a few on the windowsill.
Bulbs are cool as they regrow year after year and some even multiply so one plant gives you many more..

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

I love lilies, so I wholeheartedly support filling your house with them this Christmas (I know that's so important to you.)

I have quite a few varieties, including an orange one like yours that has spread from two plants (I think) to at least two dozen. Yeah! In my yard/experience, I've noticed the Asiatic ones tend to multiply a lot more quickly than the Oriental ones. I love the color of this one: Too bad I don't remember the name. Ooops.

8:32 AM  

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