What to do about these lilies

mori1(5b/6a)September 11, 2009

I posted this in the bulb thread but I decided to post it here too.

Last year I got into my crazy head that I would try to grow some of the bulbs that I've seen on this thread. I normally stick with the hardy ones since I'm in zone 5 and it can get pretty cold. I have grown caladium, calla lilies and cannas for two years with okay success. I wait for the killing frosts, dig them up and store away. However, I'm in a pickle this year. I have St Christopher, Lily of the Nile, Gloriosa, White and Red spider lilies in the ground. I will have to dig them up but if I understand this right, they don't like that. So what's the best thing for me to do. Put them in pots that I can put in the ground and then pull up before winter? If so, what kind of pots? No I can't nor do I want to grow them indoors.

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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Mori, I am not familiar with all the bulbs you mentioned, but Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus) and White Spider Lily (Lycoris) are tender bulbs and need to lifted or taken indoors in the winter. You may want to 'google' each of the bulbs and look under 'Plant Files' to see their zone hardiness. Then you can decide if you need to lift them. I grew Lycoris for several years- lifting them and storing indoors, then planting them out in the spring, but I never got any blooms. I decided our summer season was too short.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 1:31AM
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I did check there zones when I first planted them. I just assumed that they would be like the calla lilies and cannas. That's why I wonder if it would work out better if I put them in pots that I could lift once it gets to cold for them. I would store in a heated area making sure that the lighting was right.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 1:44AM
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I live in zone 5 in Dodge City. I grow the red spider lilies and never dig them. They have finished blooming now and are sending up their leaves. They will be green until late spring, then go dormant until they bloom in September. My agapanthus are in a large pot and they are stored in the garage for the winter. I water when I think about it, but they may only get watered a couple of times, the agapanthus I mean.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 7:32PM
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Thanks. I have three bulbs so I thought I would experiment. Leave one outside and pot up the other two, along with the white one. I was planning to pot up the Lily of the Nile but then someone told me that they leave there in the ground. So, now I'm not sure

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 8:42PM
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I googled both the St. Christopher (crinum) amaryllidaceae, and the Lily of the Nile. Backyard Gardener says the St. Christopher is only hardy in zones 9a-ll, and the Lily of the Nile in zones 9-10. I am in WV. I say I'm on the border of zones 5/6 as some hardiness maps say I'm in 5 and some say 6. I'm not really familiar with Lily of the Nile. I have seen a lot of crinums for sale on eBay and they can be quite expensive. If I were considering leaving a "tender" bulb in the ground for the winter, I would consider how much I paid for it and decide whether I wanted to take the chance on losing it if it didn't come back. If you decide to leave them in the ground, you should definitely plant them deeper than normally and mulch them. I have left dahlias and glads in the ground over the winter before and they just turned to mush, but they were only planted a couple of inches deep. However, there are a few people in my area who leave theirs in the ground and they come back. I'm sure theirs are planted much deeper. There are also a couple of people I know who leave callas in the ground all winter and they come back. I have several different dahlias. I like your idea of leaving one or two in the ground (that I have duplicates of) and seeing what happens. I will plant these deeper next spring and just leave them in the ground and mulch them. I have so many dahlias, it is really a hassle getting them dug up and storing them for the winter. It would be great to be able to leave them in the ground.
Good luck. Please give us an update in the spring if you decide to leave your bulbs in the ground. Thanks.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 3:52AM
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All the plants I mention were part of a trade and St Christopher was a gift. I talked to Marcelle and the St Christopher is hardy to 5F so I will have to pot it up. One thing I am starting to learn is some bulbs are hardier then listed but it all depends on where you plant them. With the white spider lily I'm not taking any chances though the bulb is as big a baseball. If I get any offspring from it then I will test hardiness with that. And now that I think about it, I will probably do the same thing with the Lily of the Nile. The Gloriosa I found out I can treat just like my caladium, so that's one less thing I need to pot. Love glads so I have the winter hardy ones but they bloom in the fall.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 4:38AM
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That definitely sounds like the right way to go. One definitely wouldn't want to chance losing a baseball sized bulb. I contacted the lady that I thought left her dahlias in the ground, but she said she tried it with a few and they froze, so now she digs them. So much for that theory. lol. Guess I will keep digging the dahlias. Good luck with your bulbs.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 3:18PM
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