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Lily planting and growing


Lily. - Under this name are included bulbous plants of many kinds, not all of them being true lilies. It has been said of this family of plants that it has no "poor relations," each of them being perfect in itself. Many of the choicest kinds are comparatively unknown, although easy to cultivate. In fact, all of the lilies may be grown with comparative ease in regions where the given species are hardy.

A light, fertile, well-drained soil, mellow to the depth of at least one foot, a handful of sand under each bulb if the soil is inclined to be stiff, and planting so that the crown of the bulb will be at least 4 inches below the surface, are the general requirements. One exception to the depth of planting is Lilium auratum, or golden-banded lily.

This should be planted deeper - from 8 to 12 inches below the surface - as the new bulbs form over the old one and soon bring the bulbs to the surface if they are not planted deep. Deep working of the ground is always desirable; 18 inches, or even 2 feet, will be none too deep. L. candidum and L. testaceum should be planted in August or September, if possible; but usually lilies are planted in October and November.

For all lilies it is safer to provide good winter protection in the form of a mulch of leaves or manure, and extending beyond the borders of the planting. This should be 5 inches to a foot deep, according to the latitude or locality.

While most lilies profit by partial shade (except L. candidum), they should never be planted near or under trees. The shade or protection of tall-growing herbaceous plants is sufficient. In fact, the best results, both as to growth and effect, may be secured by planting amongst low shrubbery or border plants.

Most kinds are the better for remaining undisturbed for a number of years; but if they are to be taken up and divided, or moved to other quarters, they should not be allowed to become dry. The small bulbs, or offsets, may be planted in the border, and if protected, will grow to flowering size in two or three years. In taking up bulbs for division it is best to do so soon after the tops die after blooming.

At least this should be done early in the fall, not later than October, giving the plants a chance to become established before freezing weather.

As pot-plants some kinds of lilies are very satisfactory, especially those that may be forced into bloom through the winter. The best kinds for this purpose are L. Harrisii (Easter lily), L. longiflorum, and L. candidum. Others may be forced with success, but these are the ones most generally used. The winter culture for forcing is practically the same as for hyacinths in pots.