growing liliums from seed

Tristan Hatton-Ellis Tristan.Hatton-Ellis at
Fri Aug 16 14:41:01 EST 1996

william jones wrote:
> I am trying to propagate Lilium irodalle, an uncommon species endemic to the
> sandhills region of North and South Carolina. I collected seeds last fall, but
> so far I have had little success. Can anyone offer suggestions?
> thanks
> Darryl Jones

I must say that I have never heard of this species, but Lilium are often slow to 
germinate. Many of them show a type of delayed germination where they overwinter as 
seeds which germinate in spring; however, they only form a bulb and some roots in the 
first year, with the first leaf appearing in the second spring after sowing. It is 
therefore possible that your lilies have already germinated and have formed little 
bulbs; you could find out by tipping out one of your pots to see if there is any sign 
of anything.

You could speed up this process by sowing, keeping them warm for a fortnight or so, 
then putting them in the fridge for about 6 weeks, removing for a couple of months, 
back in the fridge for 6 weeks and then removing them into the cold frame, to give a 
couple of 'high-speed' winters. However, being lazy, I prefer just to sow them in a 
pot in the cold frame and forget about them! See The Gardeners Guide to Growing Lilies 
by Michael Jefferson-Brown & Harris Howland for more information on lily propagation 
from seed.


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