How To Plant Lily Seeds

The time for action has arrived.

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.

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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.

The pods were shaken over the trench, then laid along the cedar board edge since there were still a few seeds left in them. It was very cold and windy and I was in a hurry to get this task completed.

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.

For other How To posts written by Fairegarden, look for How To on the sidebar page listing or click here.


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9 Responses to How To Plant Lily Seeds

  1. Last year I sowed amaryllis seeds after the pods burst and had decent germination. Like you, I assumed 3 yrs to flowering so if they only take 2 (as did your lilies) I’ll be quite happy!

    Way to go, Karen! When nature gives us seeds, we should sow them. Nothing to lose and everything to gain.

  2. Leslie says:

    What a nice tutorial. Very helpful. I’m always so intimidated by seeds, never sure what to do. . . .

    Thanks Leslie. I hope this helps you get over being intimidated. I feel that seeds we gather ourselves, free and plentiful can help alleviate any fears. I am much more worried when started expensive seeds inside. The internet provides so much information now about seed germination now.

  3. This brings back memories of sowing lily seeds my grandmother had given me. I certainly didn’t have as many seeds to begin with as you did, and had a few mishaps along the way, but eventually wound up with two blooming plants. I enjoyed a few years of bloom before they started languishing. I blame clay soil and a couple of late spring freezes for doing them in. I might try again someday.

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of your seed grown lilies, Kathy, especially since they came from your grandmother. All we have here is clay soil, and sometimes late freezes, but there are many things that might have happened to yours. Drainage for many kinds of lilies is the most important aspect, depending on their native environs. I do hope you try again.

  4. gail says:

    You are so right Frances, Simplifying is the way to go (a life lesson on so many levels, heh!) Those devil squirrel’s distant cousins are my nemesis. xoxoxgail

    Hi Gail, thanks. Simplify is such good advice on everything. I seem to see the wisdom of that as the years roll on by, too. I feel your pain for those dang chipmunk devils!

  5. Skeeter says:

    I need to run out and check my lily to see if I have seeds now… Thanks for the reminder…

    YES indeed! I have seeds… In hand now and soon to be in ground…

    Allrighty then, Skeeter! Good going on ignoring the forming seedpods that might have been snipped off. May your lilies germinate and bloom for you in a few years. Please let me know if and when that might happen.

  6. Lola says:

    Oh my, that is why I have lilies coming up everywhere. From now on I will deadhead them to prevent this. In the past they were just left to mother nature.

    Lilies coming up everywhere sounds like a problem many folks would like to have, Lola. Deadheading is the way to go if you don’t want babies.

  7. Your garden is awesome! And got to say that the pictures feel like I was really there in the garden!

    Thanks, Lucy!

  8. I love seed images! Great tips!

    Me too, Stacy. Thanks for visiting.

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