turks cap lily bulbils

quicksilver(z6bMA)July 18, 2007

I posted this on the Lily Forum with no joy. Question #1- Do I need to wait for my lilies to bloom before collecting their bulbils? Question #2- What is the procedure for preparing the bulbils to sow? Last year I collected a ton of bulbils with the intention of giving them away to newbies on the Seed Swap Forum. Winter comes, I look at the bulbils and I had a bowl full of sprouts!

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You should collect the bulbils in the fall and replant away from the original plant before winter arrives, or wait until spring and harvest then then. You don't want to do it during the growing season because of possible damage to the original lily. At either time, they really shouldn't be out of the ground too long as you found out last year : ) So you can offer to newbies, but it must be done fairly quickly after collecting them.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 7:12PM
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I received some advice that there are two different strains of Turks Cap Lilies. The one I have may produce viable bulbils rather eary in the season. I wanted to keep the bulbils until December, but it looks like that just isn't going to happen. Thank you for your help!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 8:02PM
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Hi again,
You learn something new everyday. I did not know there are strains that produced them at different times. I think if you removed them and pot them, you could keep them that way until Dec. You could always do just a few to see how it works out.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 6:25PM
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The stem bulbils need to be sown as soon as they come loose from the stem, and I don't think it has anything to do with bloom time. They are ready when they are ready and it's different for each type. If you barely touch them and they drop in your hand, then the ones on that location on the stem should all be ready. They ripen from the base up as I recall.

If you don't collect them when they are ripe, they will drop to the ground and grow in place. I have even seen them throw a leaf while still barely connected to the stem. You just sow them in a nursery bed or in a pot...it's really easy.

There are several kinds of lilies that have stem bulbils, but the one thing they seem to have in common is that they are always orange.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 12:28AM
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Thank goodness I finally found out what those small balls are where the leaves meet the stem! When I first moved into this property I thought they were a strange insect. Mine are dark purple and very large on the 6 ft. plants and smaller on the smaller plants. I am going to try harvesting and planting them. Will the new plants produce flowers the first year? Thanks,


    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 12:09AM
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LynnRie - it's been my experience that it'll take three growing seasons to reach blooming size. I've got some Lilium Tigrinum in yellow, pink, maroon, and white along with the usual orange. So I collect the bulbils from the different colors, plant them in shallow containers - like the square market packs from annuals - and bury the container in a sheltered spot on my patio. You can do that now, or whenever the bulbils come away easily, because they'd naturally be starting the process on their own if left to fall around the base of the plant. In the spring, each one will have a one leaf sprout. You can leave them as they are or pot them up. The second season they'll get tall and sort of spindly; might even produce little bulbils in the axils but no blooms. Third season they'll take on some size and will probably produce miniature buds and blooms. After that, you're really set with lilies.

The hardest thing is remembering where they are along the process so you don't accidentally dig them up or plant over them.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 11:44AM
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Duluthinbloomz4-Thank you for the info and planting tips! I checked today and indeed the bulbils fall off at the slight touch. I have noticed what you say with the small plants that don't bloom but have bulbils. I will have to be more careful of my weeding in the established beds as to not pull them out. I'm going to pay more attention to the color range of the individuals and mark them when they bloom as well as mark where I plant.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 8:41PM
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