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Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by mrw on August 31, 2006 09:36 AM
I just collected a bunch of shiny black seeds that were in pods on lily plants. Does anyone know how to grow these, do they need a cold period before planting, etc? Any info will be appreciated! [wavey]
by TulsaRose on September 01, 2006 08:05 AM
mrw, it would help to know what kind of Lily you have seeds for. [Wink] I've never messed with the seeds but I'm sure there are other members that can give you a few tips.

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Rosie z7a
by kennyso on September 02, 2006 07:21 AM
You probably think that lilies, because they are so big and beautiful, will take years and years to grow from seed… but they don’t. Many will bloom in only eighteen months…if the proper procedure is used.

Epigeal or “quick-type” seed

It is best for beginners to start with the epigeal or “quick type” seeds, such as asiatics and trumpets. They can be planted directly in prepared ground or in a coldframe, but much quicker results are possible with windowsill culture.

Many kinds of containers can be used…from four to six inches deep is best. If you have planted seeds indoors before, you will have your own pet planting medium. A light fluffy soil…potting mix sold in stores…vermiculite…all are good. Some gardeners use soil to almost fill the container, then add a thin layer of milled sphagnum for the seeds to ie on, and cover with more of the same material. Lily seeds are quite large and should be spaced about one-half to one inch apart. Shake the seed wih a pinch of Captan and spread out with the tip of a label.

Water thoroughly, and place in a warm place, making sure to keep the soil barely moist. If good fresh seed is used the seedlings should start to appear in about fourteen days…maybe sooner. Place the container in good light…fluorescent lights work well id your windowsills are crowded. Water and light are all the seedlings need for a while. When most of the seed has sprouted, you may start feeding…about every two weeks with dilute fertilizer…organic fish oil is good.

The first grass like leaves are called cotyledons. The true leaves which are broader, will appear in about four more weeks…and in fairly rapid succession from then on.

Transplant the seedlings outdoors as weather permits. Plant them into a nursery bed, spacing the seedlings individually about six inches apart. Watered with a “starter solution” and shaded for a few days, the little babies will grow merrily on as if nothing had happened.

The tender-loving-care you give your seedlings while they sojourn in the nursery wil play a big part in the number of blooms they will reward you with in their second summer. Let nothing check their growth! Water regularly and feed…at least once a month until late summer with a liquid fertilizer. Keep down the weeds, preferably with a mulch.

When frost has blackened the leaves in the fall, about two inches of good soil may be added to the seedling bed and, as soon as the ground is frozen, a thick mulch of pine needles, straw, etc spread over all.

When spring arrives, watch the beds carefully and when the spring sun begins to warm the ground, and the shoots start to appear, carefully remove the mulch…but keep it piled nearby to cover the lilies if frost threatens. A fertilizer rich in nitrogen may be scratched in at this time…and again at about the time buds first show.

First Blooming!
This is what you have been waiting for, isn’t it! About June the promising fat buds will begin to appear…sometimes one…often times as many as three or four. I don’t have to tell you to watch now…you’ll be down in the seedling patch many times a day! They are beautiful, these first blooming lilies with their huge blooms on short slender stems! Next year they will be taller and have many more blossoms. Aren’t you glad we persuaded you to grow some from seed? How long did it take?…only eighteen months…my…doesn’t seem possible, does it!

Hypogeal or “slow type” seed
Not all lilies grow as rapidly as asiatics, trumpets and other “quick type” lilies. It is not that the hypogeal or “slow type” seeds are much more difficult…but you do need some patience. We’ll give you directions for hurrying them along as much as possible. The “slow type” lilies include the wonderful orientals and martagons.

These seeds have a two stage germination process. First is the warm period: disinfect the seed with Captan, mix with a generous handful of damp peat moss, milled sphagnum or vermiculite, enclose in a polyethylene bag and fasten with a label. Store this in a warm place for approximately three months. By peeking occasionally you can see little bulblets forming after the second month or so.

When most bulblets have swelled and made little roots, store the bag, still securely fastened, in the refrigerator for two to three months. After this cold period, the little bulblets may be tenderly planted and cared for as you do the “quick-type” seeds. The first true leaf will show in a week or two…take good care of it! It may be the only one produced for a whole year. These seedlings are best pampered in a shaded cold frame for a year or two. Yes…it will be three of four years before you reap your reward on these! But the “slow-type”lilies are some of our most breathtakingly beautiful and desirable lilies, and they are worth the wait!

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