There are approximately 110 distinct wild species of lilium and well over 9,000 hybrids. One of these hybrids, Lilium Scarlet Delight, began opening yesterday in my side garden:
This fascinating group of lilies is derived from crossing Trumpet types with Orientals into a category known as Orienpet or O.T.. Due to their complicated breeding history, this American hybrid blooms earlier in the season and imparts the most magnificent scent! Seriously, my entire yard is redolent with the perfume from a single open flower!
Orienpets also have excellent disease resistance and naturalize quickly. The flower texture is waxy, and the stalks quite sturdy, as seen in the next photo. I love a plant that no longer requires staking! 🙂
As these bulbs mature and enlarge, the stems should produce additional flowers by branching off and growing at least 3-4′ tall. Side note: my garden is located on the cusp of zone 10 but “Scarlet Delight” is hardiest if planted in zones 5-9. I’m not 100% sure how excessive heat/sun will affect its long term growth.
Before I close, I’d like to mention a pest that plagued my Massachusetts lily garden, but so far hasn’t been an issue in Florida. If you live in northern climes, I’m sure you’ve seen the damage wrought by Red Lily Beetles aka Lilioceris Lilii:
This hungry pest arrived in Cambridge (MA) via flowers shipped from Montreal in 1992 and spread steadily westward to other temperate states. Although I didn’t take the above photo, it accurately depicts my old lily garden…every part of my plants was on the menu and consumed with no regard for savoring the moment 😮 Those dang bugs worked FAST!!
The worst damage from the Lily Leaf Beetle occurs (right now!) as the mothers’ eggs hatch and enter the larval stage These larvae have brownish bodies with black heads. To keep predators away, they carry their excrement on their backs, leaving brown smudges as they spread up the stems toward the flower buds. Ewwww! After 2 to 3 weeks at the “buffet” the larvae return to the soil for a 3 week pupation period before starting the process all over again!
So….how do you keep up with these infestations? My favorite methods included dousing the garden weekly with Neem oil sprays and “squishing”….but neither worked well enough! Sad but true…they definitely beat me!
Until next time……
- Aurelian Lily – Ajaytao (ajaytao2010.wordpress.com)
- Time to break out the bulbs (triblive.com)
- Pests in the garden – Lily Beetles and Snails (plewspottingshed.wordpress.com)
- Lilies, Beautiful and Easy to Grow (jacquesorganicgarden.com)