Friday, September 3, 2010

Martagon Lily Seedling

This little martagon lily took 8 years to bloom form seed. Last year It was up in the spring and showing great promise, but wild life happened. A deer came through early one morning when it was up about 2 inches out of the ground and bit it off just above the ground. I was looking forward to it blooming. This year it started again, but it was a bigger tip poking up out of the ground. I quickly placed a tomato cage around it with a few shiny deer and bird repellent tape. It shot up nicely reaching about three and a half feet in height. The flower buds un-furled and grew turning some what white in colour. I thought for sure the flowers would be light in colour, but just before opening they became a very deep dark red almost black colour. The pollen sacks were a very bright yellow before they opened to this rusty orange colour. The center is a lighter red with hints of white near the edges and a small green yellow nectary. The stems are of a dark colour, with a deep rich green foliage in nice whorls evenly spaced on the stem.
Now with traditional methods of propagation to increase the amount of this lily will take another three to four years before there are enough to get a good idea how this one will grow in the garden. These methods include scaling and natural division. Natural division is a lot slower and will only see about 2 to as many as 5 bulbs come along in the next three or four years. With scaling it may take about four years to get about 40 to 50 bulbs that may bloom for the first time. Usually with smaller bulbs you will only get between 1 and 5 flowers. This stem had about 30 blooms this year.

Many people wonder why Martagon lilies are expensive. It all comes down to the time put into growing the seed, then selecting a healthy vigorous plant, growing in on and multiplying the stock. Often from the first seed planted to large quantities to share with many people the process can be on average 15 years. Where as with Asiatic lilies one can start seeds and see a first flower in 2 to 3 years. Then if the vigour is there one could start to share in 2 to 3 years after that. This makes the time invested a lot shorter.

Both can be very enjoyable and exciting if one has the patience to wait for that first bloom. I hope this give you an idea about how new martagon lilies come about.

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