Gloriosa or flame lily seed questions

rootdiggernc(Z-7A NC)September 6, 2007

I have several green pods on my gloriosa lily and they've started turning brown and busting open to reveal the little red berries inside. Are the seeds viable,... and when are they ripe for picking,... and when/what's the best way to sow them? Thanks for any info.

This particular lily (with the red berries) is one that was left behind last fall when I dug them up and it survived last winter, bloomed a lot earlier and more than the ones I replanted this spring. I know we had a really mild winter, but that late freeze we had didn't even bother it. Since I have others I can dig I'm going to mulch it good (it's in a black plastic 1/2 barrel) and try to winter it there again. The only thing I can figure is it was the extra mild winter and maybe the black plastic kept it warmer than usual.


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A botanist aquaintance gave me seeds this past spring. Yes, they are red and flat, obviously dried. He says they are easy to grow from seed, but I was waiting for the winter sowing thing to try. Anyway, your seeds should be viable.He is in zone 7B, so I cannot state anything about hardiness where we are. As for sowing, I guess they will be the same as other plants in that category. I will find out this coming year, too.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 11:50AM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

They weren't reliably hardy for me outside in zone 7a in the Kernersville area this past winter. Had them last year in a large pot outside but they didn't return this year. This past winter was a strange one however. Perhaps, they may have returned if not for that bout of strange weather. I know someone in Oklahoma who claims they return for her and she is in the same gardening zone, but we all know how using gardening hardiness zones mean nothing since all they tell you is the average high and low temps.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 11:57AM
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I grow these guys and mine have fruit on them this year for the first time. I haven't picked at them to see if the seeds are ripe but plan on trying to grow more of them from seed. I will say that some of the fruit looked good for a month or so and now look dried up (possibly the seed died before maturing?).

Mine have been in the ground for the last two winters and have come back but they haven't really spread much. I think if you dig them up you can divide them and get more plants (each finger like bulb makes a "Y" by years end and can easily be snapped in half). I may dig mine next fall to multiply them if the seed don't sprout.

I have a friend that has grown them from seed and her plants were bigger then mine but she was growing them in a greenhouse. I don't know where she bought seed from, I have never seen them offered.

My adult plants are planted in sandy loam soil on the edge of my garden spot where I erect a hoop house during the winter so they get some protection from hard freezes.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 2:21PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Hmm, perhaps I ought to give this one another go and try it this time in the ground! I seem to find contradictory info on their hardiness zones though. Some references say zones 8 and up and others say as low as zone 7 with no specification as to subzone a or b. Time for an experiment!!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 2:28PM
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rootdiggernc(Z-7A NC)

I went ahead and pulled the one that has the red berries showing. The green hull had turned brown and folded back and the stem was brown about 5 inches, so I'm guessing that means it has done its thing. Each berry has one very hard seed. Kind of reminds me of the stone a cherry has. I got 7 seeds out of this one pod. The other green pods are shriveling and drying out, but still have some green and haven't split open yet. I don't have a greenhouse but we'll give it a go and see what happens.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 2:51PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Rootdigger, from what I have read, it can be grown in a pot and then overwintered either by digging up the tubers (once they form if you are starting from seed) or by leaving them in the pot and moving the pot into a protected area and not watering the pot over the winter. Overwintering in the pot in my garage is what I used to do with my Vigna caracalla tubers and still do with several of the less than hardy Eucomis bulbs.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 9:48AM
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I had one tuber of the Flame Lily given to me several years ago (2004). I planted it in my garden and, luckily, marked the spot. Nothing ever happened until this year the planted tuber decided to show up with just one stem, which grew to about 5ft tall before branching in three other (the original stalk making four) directions. Each of the four branch is about 10 to 12 inches long. Each producing a profusion of flowers - 50% scarlet red half way down and the other 50% a greenish yellow to bright yellow and eventually all scarlet red. The flower pods are remarkable. These started out like one inch gig shaped hanging green lanterns, which eventually (by the time they reach two and a half inches) open at their very tips to send gradually upwards six corrugated petals changing gradually to the greenish yellow and scarlet red - all scarlet red described earlier. Gradually rising upwards too, as do the petals, are six 'T' shaped tendrils, which stop rising once they reach a horizontal position and remain around each flower like guarding soldiers. Finally, inside, at the very heart of the hanging green lantern is a half inch green pod, which stays in position when all around it are rising upward. It eventually becomes the very base of the flower and at its own tip/base there is a further tendril about the same length as the 'T' shaped ones, only it has no 'T' but has three tiny prongs instead.

As you can imagine, I am quite excited by this 'thing of beauty' and wish to do all I can out here in sunny Jamaica (temperature ranges from 80 to 90 degrees F.) to propagate the plant. I am reading that this can be done from both seeds and tubers. Naturally, I would like to know at what stage I should dig for tubers and to be able to identify the seeds - I am not sure at what stage mine will produce the seed pods - or, have I missed something?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 11:15AM
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kyme_gardener - I believe that all of them, even the ones growing in the tropics at some point go dormant. Where the leaves yellow and dry up and the whole plant disappears. That is when you want to dig them up and either divide the roots or store them in dry soil until you are ready to plant them again. I would tie a ribbon around the stem where it comes out of the ground to keep track of it when everything dies back and then dig up the root. In my garden the roots are around 10 inches underground and look like two thumbs joined together to make a "Y" shape. I've been told you can break the "y" in half and plant each thumb and they will grow into sepparate "Y's" in one year.

I did succeed at growing some from seed! I found the seed at a garden center in a packet from Thompson and Morgan Tropicals (a different style of packet then their normal line of seeds). They sprouted pretty quickly but took two years to get big. They have now died back (July) and I have dug them up to see how big the tubers are and they are perfect miniatures of the ones I describe above. It may take a year or more for these guys to get big enough to bloom.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 4:13PM
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Please, please, I have a lovely Gloriosa or Flame Lily currently blooming profusely in my garden out here in Jamaica. It is just one plant, which has truly surprised me because I had planted the tuber since 2004 and never 'heard' or seen anything of it until it suddenly appeared this year with such splendor. Naturally, I now wish to propagate the plant as much as I can. I now know of the 'splitting tuber' option but I understand that the plant will also produce SEEDS. It is knowing WHEN to expect the seeds, WHAT to look for, AT WHAT STAGE to collect them and the BEST TIME to sow them, if any, in sunny Jamaica (80 to 90 degrees) that I am now asking.

Many,many thanks.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 10:16AM
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My plants never successfully make seed so I am mostly guessing... After the blooms have faded you should see an odd shaped fruit form where the flowers were. It will kind of look like another flower bud but it never opens up or has petals. Mine have always been green like the leaves. When it starts to turn brown you should snip it off the plant and store it in a paper bag inside the house and let it finish drying out. You should also break it open after it is dry and scatter the seeds in a large flower pot and cover them with a tiny bit of soil (you don't have to plant them deep, just a half an inch under the soil). The reason to take them off the plant is that many insects and mice like to eat the seeds so you don't want to leave them outside. The seeds should sprout in a month. It may take a few years to get plants big enough to bloom.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 9:45AM
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memama_gayle(z8 NC)

The ones that I have multiply easily. I leave them in the ground and try to cover during the winter with some pinestraw. They are beautiful!
Mine are Gloriosa Rothchild. (Miguel told me about these beautiful flowers! He blessed us so much with his knowledge. I do miss him! )

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 9:57PM
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woodsworm(7a NC)

all you folks: how much sun does a flame lily need? I have a good sized plant for the first time this summer, but it has not bloomed. It's in light shade (high thin canopy)nearly all day. Is this hopeless? Phlox and foxglove have bloomed there.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 9:34PM
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I think of them like Clematis, roots in the shade but stretching to the sunshine. Mine that I grew at my old house did just fine year after year with no extra effort on my part but they did take a few years before they would bloom (enough of a time lapse that I forgot all about planting them). That garden was not what I would call full sun. It has lots of direct light but only in the middle of the day. I measured 6 hours in the middle of June (the longest daylength month). Mine only bloomed for one period of the summer, sometimes early, sometimes late. I wish they would develope an everblooming variety.

The seedlings I have now are supposed to be of mixed and variable colors. I saw some that were apricot and cream and some that were an odd brown orange and yellow used in a flower bouquet up at the Philly Flower Show one year - that is what inspired me to buy the packet of mixed color seeds. My seedlings seem happy but they are sure slow at growing at this rate it will take years before I see what color they are.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 9:52AM
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