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Bulbs/Lily question

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Question
Hi,

I received a Lily (I think a stargazer lily) plant in a small pot from FTD florists on Valentine's Day.  It bloomed beautifully but now the blooms have died.  

I'd like to continue to keep it in my office and maybe have it bloom next year.  Is this possible or is my only option to plant it outside now?

Thanks!

Sara

Answer
Hi

Sorry for taking so long. I did not get any feedback that I had a question pending.

Liliums are strictly outdoor plants and like Narcissi, Hyacinthus or Tulipa are forced for an earlier display indoors and then planted outdoors as they will not bloom indoors ever again.

Forcing weakens the bulbs and uses up all their energy, so they may not flower the following year and may take a couple of years to regain their strength. Lilium are summer bulbs and they are forced well ahead of their natural flowering season, so you can see how this will weaken them.

The future of your Lilium depends on what you do and how you care for it.

This is my advice:

Water it every few days.

When the frosts are over, harden your plant off.

When the weather is fine, dig a hole twice as big as the container; add compost; dig it in; then tip your plant out of the pot without disturbing the rootball; place it on top of the compost in the hole; then back-fill the hole and make sure the plant is sitting at the same level as it was in the pot; then give it a good watering.

After a couple of months, the foliage will yellow; DO NOT be tempted to cut the stems down until the foliage is dead.

When the foliage is brown, cut it down to about an inch above ground level.

Then as winter approaches, mulch with leafmould.

When the new shoots appear in March or April, remove the mulch.

If your plant has strength, it should flower in summer( I have Stargazers and here in the UK they flower July to September) and once the flowers fade, snip off the pods to divert energy into the bulb for the next seasons flowers.

I will give you a tip;

When you plant your Lilium, try underplanting with smaller groundcover plants as this will keep the roots shaded and the plant in the sun as this is the way Liliums like it; their head in the sun and the feet in the shade.

Remember to keep it well watered at all times throughout the growing season and feed when the buds appear and keep watered until established too.

Do not disturb it for many years as the bulbs are made up of scales and are easily damaged. Liliums may not flower the following year if disturbed; so leave it be until the bulb has produced so many divisions that it is overcrowded. To divide it, lift the plant in autumn and CAREFULLY divide the bulbs into seperate pieces and replant at two time their own depth.

Before planting the new plants, add sand to the soil to improve drainage. DO NOT store dry bulbs as the dry out rapidly and lose viability and will not grow again.

Hope this helps.

Happy gardening and good luck with your Stargazer as they are BEAUTIFUL!

Jonathan.

Bulbs

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Jonathan Alderson

Expertise

I cannot answer anything about propagation from seed or dividing Begonia tubers. I cannot answer anything about the temperatures for indoor bulbs.

Experience

I know a lot about most bulbs, corms and tubers that are for outdoor use or as half hardy plants. I know about forcing bulbs for earlier flowering indoors and how to care for them during that time and how to maintain a good standard of health. I can answer questions about the planting times, watering, care after flowering and lifting of the tender types or the forced varieties. With the garden types, I know a lot about the planting dates and when they flower and about the different varieties or forms. I know how to plant them and how deep to plant them. I do not know much about the true indoor bulbs but know quite a bit about the Hippeastrum. I know a lot about Narcissi, Crocus, Iris Recticulata, Muscari, Hyacinthus, Tulipa and Anemone Coronaria. The other bulbs for outdoors are part of my knowledge and I can answer most things about them but it is mainly spring flowering bulbs I know about. I also know a bit about Lilium and Gladiolus hybrids too. I have a lot of books on this subject and grow my own bulbs every year and I know about the storage of most types. I do know a bit about the Dahlia too and storing them over winter and then getting them ready for cuttings in spring.

Organizations
Trade Base Community Allotment Association.

Education/Credentials
I have an NVQ Level 1 in horticulture.

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