Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall - The Right Time For Lily And Bulb

By Thomas Fryd

Fall is bulb planting time. Most lily species are planted now. The lily bulb is very sensitive to drying out and should be planted as soon as received. Plant bulbs four to six inches deep according to the species. Most lilies enjoy fertile soils, richly supplied with organic matter.

Since most of them prefer cool soils, the planting of ground cover plants over the lily beds is helpful in satisfying this condition. Good drainage is a must for most lily species. There are many superior varieties of lilies on the market today in a great variety of colors and forms. Many of these are hardy for the West area.

No group of plants gives better spring color than the spring flowering bulbs. Tulips, daffodils and hyacinths provide a mainstay for the border.

Tulips are most widely used because they are the hardiest. For bordering, grape-hyacinths, scillas or squills, chionodoxas, and crocuses are unexcelled. Secure large, well-grown bulbs from a reliable source. Plant the bulbs to a depth equivalent to two to three times the diameter of the bulbs.

Those who like the unusual in bulbs may like to try Fritillarias. The crown imperial or Fritillaria imperialis is a striking plant. The plant grows from two to four feet tall. Orange or red flowers are in clusters and are bell-shaped, hanging downward. The plant blooms in April and May. Closely allied is the Guinea-hen flower, Fritillaria meleagris, with its unusually mottled purple, pendant, bell-like flowers.

Fritillaria pudica and Fritillaria atropurpurea are natives of the extreme west. The former is yellow flowered and the latter brown, spotted yellow. They require well drained sites.. Since the flowers of these latter species are rather tiny, they show up best in rock garden plantings with solar post light. If you are not familiar with solar post light, you can ask some landscapers for some information and how to use solar post light.

Bulbs of the crown imperial should be set about six inches deep. The other species can be planted from three to four inches deep. The crown imperial resents competition from other plants, so should be given ample space. Some folks might not like the rather objectionable odor of the flowers of these plants.

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