Oriental Lily Seeds on Stems

Sandi_W(7b/8)June 8, 2005

Can you plant the seeds that are on the stalks of Oriental Lilies? And if so, when do you collect them and how do you plant them? This is my first year growing them.


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Maybe there is a misunderstanding ?

Oriental lilies do not develop bulbils (offsets) on the stems. Typically asiatic lilies and tiger lilies will do this.

Oriental lilies can develop seeds, however. The seeds develop inside the embryo of the flower (big puffy seed pods will develop where flower used to be). You can harvest the seeds when the pod turns brown (late fall).

After you have harvested the seed pods, break them open over a piece of paper and you will find many disc like falkes. If you hold the flakes (seeds) up to light only some of them will have something "inside" them. If the flakes are clear (empty) then they are not fertile and should be discarded. Only some seeds (flakes) will be good. If the lily has not been visited by bees at all, none of the flakes may be any good. You will have to try and chance it.

The best way is to put the seeds in a plastic bag (ziplock) of slightly moist seed starting mixture or cactus planting mixture. Leave plastic bag at 65-70F for 4 months keeping it barely moist. Then put in the fridge for 3 month at which time small bulbs develop. Finally bring out and plant the small bulbs 1/4" deep in small pots. Plant outdoors after last chance of frost.

Oriental lilies will not create plants which are true to type (e.g. the offspring will most likely not look like the parent).

It is often easier to simply scale the lily to create more lilies.

You can use below link for an explanation how to do that.

I started of by mentioning that some asiatic and tiger lilies (lilium lancifolium) produce bulbils at the leaf axis (along the leaves of the stem) and that orientals do not do that. Below you can see a picture of bulbils on a tiger lily.

The bulbils are clones (100% identical to the mother plant) and can be planted shallowly in loose soil (mix compost or potting soil into the top 3" of soil and plant covered with 1/2" of amended soil. Then cover with 2" layer of shredded leaves in early winter, and remove this layer in early spring).

The bulbils will create flowering lilies in 2-3 years.

Note: bulbils are identical clones which occur on some asiatic and tiger lilies. Oriental lilies do not produce them. You have to reproduce them via seeds (which takes about 5 years to bloom) and which will not create identical results. You can also scale the oriental lily bulb as mentioned in the referenced article.

Article link: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/18505/105602

Here is a picture of a lily with bulbils. The bulbils should be harvested and planted after flowering is complete. As mentioned, bulbils are not seeds but actually miniature (cloned) bulbs ready to be planted.

Here is a link that might be useful: Scaling lily bulbs - article

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 11:24PM
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Thank you so much for your help. It seems I don't know what kind of lilies I have. They were pass-alongs from 2 neighbors who didn't know what kind they were either. I'll just have to wait until I can get pictures to get them identified. I've never grown lilies before and am excited to be doing so this year, even if I have no idea of what I'm doing. At least now I know about the seeds on some of the lilies I have.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 1:01AM
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sandihere2005(Zone 7 N. AL)

This is just the info I have been looking for. My Tiger Lily is just covered with bubils and being new to lilies I had no idea what to do.

Now I can't wait to go get them started, even tho it will be years before they mature.

Thanks KDJ for the link and information.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 12:44PM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

The bulbils fall all over the ground and sprout - that's why tiger lilies are such a common pass-along plant. It takes about 3 years for them to begin to mature, and more like 4 to be fully mature. I always love telling the non gardeners around the office that my wife and I spent a couple hours pulling lilies. "How can you do that?" Well you have to or the patch becomes overgrown. Even though they are common and easy, they are be far my favorite lily, just be careful and don't let them take over; at five feet tall they'll shade out most other plants.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 5:25PM
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Are these seeds poisonous? My neighbor has a toddler who loves flowers. Thank you, Kay

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 9:33PM
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dunwaukin(Ontario 5b)

KayCee, did you miss my post to you in your earlier question? Google for poisonous plants, pick a website that is reputable: i.e. a university or government site. I'm not going to do the search for you, it's fairly easy to do yourself. And, in case you missed it, you're discussing bulbils, not seeds.

If you still have difficulties figuring out what to do, please let us know which part of this is confusing. I find that people expect other posters to do the work for them. I don't mind helping out, but also help yourself.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 2:21PM
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lighten up dunwaukin.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 8:58PM
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dunwaukin(Ontario 5b)

Viola, if you notice, I have posted a bunch of information to some of these questions, trying to help fellow gardeners with their lily questions. In none of them was I sarcastic. I posted a reasonable suggestion to kayCee, and, may I add, the only response.

Obviously, she didn't read the response. I don't like posting, and having someone not even bother to read my answer. Why should I waste my time if she's not willing to spend a bit of hers. I am not about to google the information for her.

Oh, forget about it.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 9:46PM
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She posted both questions on the 23rd. (one in this thread at 21:33 and a new thread at 22:21) She may not have gotten back to read your answer from the 24th, but many others have. Have fun and keep helping out. Don't be so grumpy, you are appreciated.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 11:17PM
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My neighbor gave me a lily bulb last spring and just a couple of days ago I noticed that where the flowers used to be there were three pods that were dried up and starting to open. I opened them and pulled out one small black bean looking seed from each pod. I was wondering if they were seeds that I could plant or give to other people to plant to they can enjoy the plant the same as I do.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 4:52PM
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