Sunday, 8 July 2012

Beautiful Lilium regale

I got my very first lilies in 2004, 3 fat Lilium regale bulbs which I first planted in a large tub. Since then my collection has grown to around 80 Lilium regale, my next door has got 20 of mine and a friend of mine has another 15 – all from the 3 bulbs I got 8 years ago. Each flower produce an abundance of seeds, and each seed has the potential to become a new plant, so if I wanted to I could soon have thousands of new lilies! But I haven’t got room for thousands, or enough friends and neighbours, so I only let a few go to seed every year to replenish my stock.

The scent of Lilium regale is the most heavenly scent you can ever imagine, if you like lilies – it fills my whole garden and I can smell it into my kitchen through the open door.

It takes a good few years from seedling to mature plant, but after a few years you get a couple of flowers, later on you can get up to 20 flowers on one stem.

Each stem on every mature plant produce many flowers and they don’t open all at the same time so the flowering season lasts for weeks.

The rain caught me out today, I had to take cover several times!

Lilium regale is pure white inside, with purple and white outside.

I have many types of lilies, both oriental and Asian, but my Lilium regale is absolutely my favourite. None of the other oriental lilies have started to flower yet, so I have more lovely scent to come :-)

Aren’t’ they beautiful?

If you are ever thinking of growing lilies and haven’t done it before, start with this one. Easy to grow, easy to propagate from seeds so you can get many more and they don’t really get any pests apart from the lily beetle. The rain was pretty bad this afternoon so I had to give up taking more photos, but while I was standing there, in the middle of all these lilies, with the rain drizzling, I can tell you there isn’t any more exquisite perfume than what was surrounding me – the air was heavy with the scent of lilies. Wish I could post the scent here for you too!! Until next time, take care.

19 comments:

  1. They are indeed beautiful flowers. What success you've had with those original three little bulbs!

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    1. Yes, and they were a gift so I am forever grateful for them :-)

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  2. They are superb. I love the yellow centres and purply-pink buds. What a fabulously successful propagation story.

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    1. Thanks, I am writing a bit more below about how I grow them from seeds.

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  3. One of the first lilies that i grew too. I have just replenished my stock as my original plants have faded out. Neglect on my part, I'm afraid, but then I did buy them about thirty years ago.

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    1. I think they do fade out eventually although mine have multiplied so far, better in the shadey bed than in the sunny actually!

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  4. Oh, my goodness! What beautiful lilies as well as beautiful photos! I do believe I smell their perfume all the way over here, Helene. :-)

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    1. Thanks, yes I wish I could bottle the scent and keep it over winter!

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  5. Hi Helene
    I admire your courage to grow them from seed! I struggle growing easy plants like marigolds and allyssum from seed :) Your lilies are stunning and your photographs do them full justice.

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    1. Thanks, they are actually just as easy to grow from seeds as marigolds :-)

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  6. These are absolutely beautiful, Helene--the Lilies and the photos! I belatedly posted about the Illuminating Blogger Award. Thank you, again, for this honor!

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  7. I am so glad you posted this Helene. We just got back into Lilies again last year. Previously we always went for Regale Album, it is pure white on the back as well and doesn't have such a long trumpet shape. It deteriorated in successive years, I am already looking forward to getting the one you talk of today. Those pictures of yours would tempt most of us.

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    1. Thanks Alistair, L. Album is lovely too, but I just love L. Regale - only trouble with them is that they need individual staking, lot of work if you have many, but I gladly take that work for such a great display.

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  8. They're beautiful! I have big white trumpet lilies that are very fragrant. I love the purple on the outside of these flowers. I've never tried growing lilies from seed. Do you just let them sprout where they fall or do you start them inside?

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    1. It's definitely worth a try propagating yourself, you can get hundreds of plants from just a few lilies! See below for how I do it, not sure if this is the way to do it in places where the winters are very warm, but it's worth looking into :-)

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  9. I am not sure if there is a right or wrong way of propagating Lilium regale, but this is how I do it here in London, where winters can be down to minus 5-6 Celsius: I always cut off the lily heads before the petals fall off, so I don’t have to pick up petals from the ground, but when the flowering season is about to come to an end I leave a few flowers on the stalk and let the petals drop when they are ready to go. I let the seed heads develop and keep an eye on them, usually the seeds won’t be ready to be harvested until November, depending on what kind of autumn we have. The seeds must be ripe enough to be about to fall out, don’t tease them out of the seed heads as they won’t be ripe yet then – you should be able to just shake them out.

    I then take small pots, like those you buy tiny annuals in at garden centres, put the pots in large trays, I get 16 pots in each of my trays, and fill with ordinary compost. I sprinkle 4-5 seeds in each pot and sprinkle a tiny amount of compost on top, leave them outside over winter and water if necessary (in prolonged drought). That’s it, easy peasy. The first spring you will get tiny straggly plants, thin out to two plants per pot. They will die down in the autumn just like lilies should do. Make sure to water them well during the summer, no fertilizer. The next year the plants will be a lot healthier, take out the weakest one so you only have one plant per small pot. If you are lucky you might get one flower on some of the plants but don’t expect any just yet. Year 3: Now it’s about time to either plant on to a bigger pot or plant out in the garden. You can expect some flowers, but only sparingly. It might take another 3-4 years before they produce any abundance, but hey, in the mean time you might have another hundreds of lilies on the go! Patience is rewarded here, and it’s completely free plants :-)

    You can probably sow directly on the ground too, I haven’t tried that, but when you grow the seeds in pots it is much easier to get planting depth and spacing correct when you eventually plant them in the ground or in a large tub.
    Good luck!

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  10. Great post Helene. I would never have thought of growing a lily from a seed, I've only seen bulbs on sale. Your beautiful flowers are definitely worth waiting three years for, they even look good in the rain.

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    1. Thank you, I'm happy to share advice on how to multiply your plant collection for free ;-)

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