How To Plant Lily Seeds
Not with intent, seedpods were allowed to form on the Formosa lilies, Lilium formosum while our attention was occupied elsewhere. Once discovered, it was decided to let nature take over and try to remember to check regularly for the pods to open. That is the time for sowing, always, when the skin splits away and the seeds are exposed to the elements.
The flowers appear in late summer. These were purchased in 2011 in bloom from Mouse Creek Nursery, a local gem. They are planted in the gravel garden and a mass planting of them there would be quite nice amongst the tall grasses. Achieving that mass without breaking the bank would be even nicer.
We have some experience sowing lily seeds, click here to read about the Regale lilies grown from seed with success. The above babies, photo from 2009 bloomed this past year, 2012. Not too long of a wait, horticulturally speaking.
A sheltered but sunny spot had already been selected at the edge of the raised box planter by the shed. Lily seeds have previously been sown there with good results. A trench about two inches deep was dug that was four feet long, the width of the box. The pods were laid in quickly since they were already spilling seeds all over.
Pretty, aren’t they? Sort of like teeny tiny potato chips, maybe for fairies? Although the first effort at planting lily seeds was done inside the greenhouse, we have found it to be ever so much easier to plant them in the ground in fall when the pods open and let nature take care of the stratification process provided by winter, as well as the necessary moisture and light levels. Simplify!
A length of chickenwire was placed over the drill and weighted down with rocks at each end to protect the area from marauding devil digging squirrels who just last night dug up the newly planted daffodils.
And now we wait. Previously we have written about using the little bulblets that push up in early spring to spread lilies, click here to read about that. If you are wondering about allowing the seedpods to form somehow weakening the mother plant, it does a little. But the payoff of many more lily plants seems worth it, especially with species lilies such as these. I do deadhead most of the lilies here, after the initial experiment of lily seed growing, but as mentioned, these pods formed while my back was turned. There were a lot of seeds in those pods and they were planted rather thickly. Not all will germinate, but thinning can be done next spring, if needed. It will be several years before there are flowers, but patience will be well rewarded.