Friday, June 24, 2011

Potted Lilies

We are finally having some success with our lilies.  This Asiatic lily, orange electric, has been with us for three years.  Van Bourgondien's catalog lists this lily as hardy to zone 3.  Sites not selling this lily describe it as hardy to zone 5.  Our experience supports a zone 5 requirement.  Here in zone 4 this lily needs some extra help.  In previous years it was a struggle just to keep the plant alive.  A bucket covered it when frost threatened but its growth was scant and flowers even smaller.  This bulb spent last winter in a pot.  The pot was buried in a sheltered location near other lilies and a tarp covered the lot when frost threatened.  In response to this extra care, orange electric is putting on quite a show this year.  Its flowers are more intense than the catalog photo.  Foliage growth is respectable.  This lily wants to live.  It will be carefully tended this season and returned to the pot for the winter.  We will be looking for it in 2012.

Lilium Farolito has been with us for years.  Purchased at a local nursery as a greenhouse forced early bloomer, it was transplanted in front of the house after blooming.  Early up each spring it was hammered by frosts.  We could cover it while it was short enough to fit under a garbage can but it always outgrew the cans with several frosts yet to come.  The warm site near the house was blamed for the early emergence and rapid growth.  We moved these lilies away from the house and planted them with daffodils.  Farolito was still up early and the nearness of the daffodils made protecting the lilies from frost impossible.  Three became one and the sole survivor spent the past winter in a pot near the other lilies.  Even in its shaded location this lily was first to emerge and quickly passed three feet in height.

 Moving the potted lily into the basement was the only way to protect it from the last frosts.  All of that effort was well worth it.  We will be treated to numerous scented flowers over the coming days.  Perhaps this lily will reward us by producing new bulbs.  In any event this plant will spend the winter in a pot buried to the rim in our new and improved earthen cold frame.


NellJean said...

Luv lilies.

Donna said...

I never thought much about lilies needing warmer weather...I take our zone 5 garden for granted I guess...I am lucky to have lilies growing all over if the deer don't get to them wonderful that you are successful in getting them to bloom in pots...they are so lovely