Should I expect top growth this season from bubils?

steve22802(7a VA)June 24, 2006

Hi all,

I have a turk's cap style lily that came with my property so I don't know exactly what species it is, maybe Lilium superbum, and it's now dropping bubils so I collected a bunch and plan to raise them over the next several years. I did a search and found good info regarding how to plant them, but not how soon to expect leaves. So I'm wondering, should I expect to see a small stalk and leaves this summer yet, or do the tiny bubils just grow under ground for the rest of the summer/fall/winter and then put up a tiny stalk in the spring next year?

Just another idea, would it help any to vernalize the bubils in the refrigerator for a couple weeks to make them think that winter has come and gone?

Thanks for any help,

- Steve

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

I haven't grown turk's cap but have been growing garden variety tiger lily bulbils. Once the bulbils had pretty much matured and started to fall off the mother plant (late summer/early fall), I planted them in a 8" plastic pot with container mix and left them out for winter (covered with some pine needles but still snowed on, etc). I didn't see any growth on them during the fall as I expect the cooler temps slowed them down (and I figured they would be growing roots in any case).

I found that the first spring after planting (2004), I got a single leaf from each bulbil (I think I planted 5) and these single leaves remained through the summer and into fall before dying down:

The 2nd year (last year), I had a few more leaves along with some short stems up to about 6". And now this year, all have stems from about 10" - 12" tall, with the 2 biggest now having their own single bulbil each. However I'm not seeing bloom buds as yet and figure they won't bloom this year. The "babies" look like this today:

I know I'll need to divide them pretty soon. I expect you may see similar type growth on your babies. But they might not throw up a leaf the same season as planting (even if you plant this early) as they need to lay down a bit of a root system first. It would be interesting to see if they do however, so do report on it!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 1:12PM
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steve22802(7a VA)

Thanks for the info and pictures! Maybe I should take some pictures too to document my project. I have quite a lot of bubils so I guess I could experiment a bit. Maybe I'll try putting some of the bubils in the fridge or freezer for a few weeks to see if I can trick them into thinking that winter has past.

- Steve

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 5:48PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Definitely document it! At least that way you'll notice how the plants are growing over time and will confirm that they aren't just sitting there at the same size!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 6:33PM
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greenguy1(z7 Maryland)

Steve -

Don't put them in the freezer - you'll kill them. Underground over the winter, bulbs are protected from actually freezing because the ground is an insulator. You can put them in the refrigerator, but be aware that if you have lots of fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, they are putting off ethylene gas as they age, which can have bad effects on bulbs. To be honest, I don't know much about the vernalization requirements of lilies, but it could be a fun experiment.

I did exactly the same thing you did a few years ago with tiger lily bulbils collected (with permission) from a garden I passed while walking along the street. No leaves the summer I planted, one leaf the next year, last year about 6-8" tall with lots of bulbils, and this year 12-15" tall, again with lots of bulbils. I have been growing in pots up until now and transferred into the ground this spring, I'm hopeful of a few flowers next spring.

- also Steve

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 7:15AM
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Nancy zone 6

I have the tall orange turk's cap/tigridium lily. When I planted the bulbils, I had a single leaf the 1st year-after a month or 2. I forgot & left the pot outside that winter & didn't expect them to make it in such a shallow small pot, but they did. I planted them in a protected, shady spot & some got about 1' tall or so & even produced a bulbil or 2. I was expecting them to get much taller this year, but they are only a few inches taller, a little bulkier though. I'm thinking now they need a bit more sun, & maybe I should have spread them apart a bit last fall. This fall I am going to dig & spread them out in a bit sunnier spot. I need to try fertilizing some too, I think they could have bloomed this year if I had.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 2:30PM
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Hi . I'm new on hereso, I hope this gets through. I have some tiger lilies that came with our prooerty several years ago. They are located in a wooded like pine tree area. Ove rthe past few years that area has grown up and the lilies are surounded by poison ivy, oak and sumac. My husband is trying very hard to get rid of it along with oher unwanted vegitation. In the meantime I have managed to pluck a few of the bulbils off and planted them in a pot with some "refurbished" organic mix and a little fertilizer. I placed the pot in a cooler, shady area around our pool and close to some of the pines. (separated by fencing.) What can I expect if anything or do you have any other useful advice for me. I'm just sort of experimenting.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 12:10PM
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Jenny's post and pictures are a good document as to what to expect from potting up the tiger lily bulbils. If you pot them this year, don't expect to see anything until spring. I go through this every year since I lucked onto a TL collection under the Martha Stewart label at K-Mart that remarkably had 2 yellows, 2 peach, a maroon, and a white - no orange as I already had many, many of those.

Once the bulbils start falling off the parent plant, I pot a number of them up right away and bury the pot with a piece of plastic gutter mesh over the top so chipmonks, etc. can't dig. Then just forget about them till they show in the spring. If I put 20 bulbils in the pot, I'll get 20 sprouts. I have so many of them in varying stages scattered around, either by my hand, or simply by falling off the parent plant, I can't be certain anymore but think they reach blooming size by the third season. If planted in the ground in a protected spot, the stems will be a little hardier than those kept in pots.

I think refrigeration might be an unnecessary experiment - although interesting to try if you've got a good supply to work with- since I've experienced the bulbils starting to shrivel if left unplanted for too long.

They really are great plants!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 9:14PM
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