year I purchased some Asiatic lilies. All flowered except one. Two
stalks came up but instead of flowers a lot of little black bulbs
grew in their place. This year the same thing has happened. I planted
the little bulbs. Will they flower or take after the parent bulb?
Hope you can explain the trouble.
examining them, it's hard to say why the bulb would produce stalks
which failed to flower. Perhaps, in the early stages of growth,
the shoot tips were attacked by slugs or snails and the tiny flower
buds eaten. Is it the same bulb this year that failed to flower
last year? If so, I'd be tempted to throw it away and keep only
those that flowered well.
Many lilies do produce
small bulbs (bulbils) on the flower stems and you can propagate
them this way. The new plants will have the same growth habit and
flower colour of the parent. Your lilies that did flower well should
also produce some bulbils. To encourage them to do so, cut off the
flower heads as soon as they're spent, but leave the leafy stem
intact. Wait until the leaves start to yellow then carefully pick
off the bulbils. Treat them like large seeds, gently pressing them
into the surface of seed-raising mix in a pot or tray, then sprinkle
sand or more mix over them so they're buried just below the surface.
Keep moist in a sheltered spot and eventually new growth will appear.
You'll need to grow them on for two or three years, in pots or in
the garden, until the new bulbs reach flowering size.
Gardener, Issue 135, 2003, Page 27
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.