Lilies forum: A Lily Comedy! (If I wasn't so angry)

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Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Feb 22, 2014 1:26 PM CST
So I received a species bulb order from Fedex today. I ordered 2 lilium sargentiae and 2 lilium taliense from a site called Far Reaches Farm. (Not to be confused with Faraway flowers) In the description they describe the sargentiae bulbs as "immediate gratification large bulbs" and the taliense were to come in four inch pots.
Excited, I opened up the box to find this!

Thumb of 2014-02-22/Joebass/2f7b43
Thumb of 2014-02-22/Joebass/21a62c
Thumb of 2014-02-22/Joebass/2dc79f

A quarter was put in by myself for size comparison.
Those small bulbs came from two 4 inch pots and the soil was washed off. Some are sprouting and others are exceptionally tiny. The biggest horror show was the 2 chunks of stem roots(one with last seasons cut stem) as my sargentiae "plants"!

I checked back on the website for descriptions before I called to complain. I was definitely complaining about the sargentiae "bulbs" or lack of. Unfortunately their customer service is M-F so I will have to call on Monday. Needless to say I will call Monday to see what they will do but I am expecting a full refund for that nonsense that was shipped. I will keep you all posted on how this turns out. For now, proceed with extreme caution with this company.
Lincoln, NE
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Miniature Gardening Butterflies
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Moby
Feb 22, 2014 2:43 PM CST
Well, a few bulbs have a sprout ~ there's your "instant gratification". You were expecting more?? Rolling on the floor laughing
On the up side, at least you have several of the small bulbs that will grow up... eventually.
Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?
[Last edited by Moby - Feb 22, 2014 2:44 PM (+)]
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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Feb 22, 2014 7:18 PM CST
There was no evidence of any kind of an old bulb? Strange. There's something else; something funny. I see those little brown, somewhat circular brown spots. Those appear to be 'attack wounds' caused by bulb mites. They attack a bulb in that manner, then wait for the wound to soften and spoil, allowing their entry. Bulb mites are much more likely to be present when bulbs are stored in pots that are allowed to remain damp or even grown in a damp greenhouse type environment. Given the fact that you say there was no dirt in the pots, that it appeared that things had been washed and the mother bulbs were missing---my suspicion is they discovered or were told by other complaining customers that they had a mite problem, and that they, then, inspected and cleaned all their stock. They probably disposed of the main bulbs because that's where the mites main colony (ies) resided and the bulbs, themselves, were pretty well destroyed. Mites are fairly common with bulbs purchased in pots and with lilium their most successful entry point are areas closest to the basil.

Those are my thoughts. Edit added: Don't be surprised if they don't have replacement stock--they've probably found out be now, it's all bad.
[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Feb 22, 2014 7:36 PM (+)]
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Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Feb 22, 2014 7:35 PM CST

Moderator

I looked at their website and both of these are marked "out of stock". My bet is they will make good on it in whatever way they can. They have good reviews on Garden Watchdog and kudos from such as Dan Hinckly and Ann Lovejoy.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Feb 22, 2014 7:45 PM CST
That's good to know, too. And your little ones look Ok, too. You've got quite a few small ones to work with, that's a real plus. And small bulbs are more vigorous growers. To heck with 'instant gratification', I'll take smaller bulbs any day! Smiling
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Feb 22, 2014 8:22 PM CST
We'll let me clarify a little better. Those stems and stem roots were packed in a bag with fairly dry soil. I looked for evidence of rotten bulbs but couldn't find any. It's as if someone who did not know lilies at all had packed them and thought that they will sprout again.(like a bare root peony)

As far as the Taliense bulbs, they WERE in damp soil in 4 inch pots. After not finding any Sargentiae bulbs I dumped those pots to see what was inside and I found those disappointing bulblets. That said, ten bulblets are nice if I can get most to mature.

Lorn, your diagnosis seems dead on being that they were in damp soil but what does that mean for me? Are these bulb mites a big problem? Truth is I only noticed them on 1 or two of the bulblets. I don't know what one looks like but I did not see anything visibly on them.
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Feb 22, 2014 8:24 PM CST
I already potted them in my own soil mix and they are under lights due to the fact that half were sprouting.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Feb 22, 2014 8:57 PM CST
The missing sargentiae bulbs reminds me of a time when a fellow NARGS chapter member presented me with a gift of a Lilium formosanum var. pricei. It was freshly dug and had a bud. (I don't know what possessed her to dig it up then, except that it would probably be the only time she would see me, maybe for the whole year.) Anyway, the bulb was missing, but there were lots of stem roots. I planted it, and since there was no bulb and it would die anyway come winter, I let it bloom and produce seed. It did, and it did, and I was quite impressed.

L. taliense tends to be a very fast grower. I'd much rather have more small bulbs than fewer larger ones.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Feb 22, 2014 9:52 PM CST
Joe--well, first you can bury the sprout, it doesn't have to be planted exposed just because it there. Now, about the mite bites (if that's what they are): Those are going to be harmless because the mites are gone. Since you've already planted the bulbs, you won't be able to check for any fungus at the basil plate area, but that would have been a place to examine closely. Those spots are not going to bother a young vigorous bulb on an outer scale. One thing to remember: fungus and mites go hand in hand. There's something in the chemistry surrounding fungus activity that attracts mites and mites are hard to treat with pesticides. Very hard. So one has to be proactive wherever and whenever warm moist periods or conditions occur by spraying with copper base fungicide to keep fungi pathogens in control. Mites don't like dry conditions so it's generally better to water thoroughly followed by an extended dry time before watering again, regardless if in garden soil or in a pot.

Since Species bulbs are often of international origin and frequently shipped in pots, it's easy for me to understand how a reseller here encounters mites. EDIT ADDED 02/22/2014: This statement is deceiving and lacks further surrounding information and/or information incomplete. See following two posts
[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Feb 22, 2014 11:30 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Feb 22, 2014 10:32 PM CST
It's extremely rare for any plant to enter the United States legally with soil. At minimum, it would need multiple pesticide treatments.
I think you made a typo, Lorn.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Feb 22, 2014 11:24 PM CST
Not a typo, Rick, it would be my mistake. You right, not legally. Not to defend what I said , but I've seen adds on the internet for Species shipped in 4 inch pots from China and Japan. I'm not inferring this reputable source did that, but it's one way stuff gets in here uninspected. Not everything coming in here is 100% inspected. Trade shows are common in the Northwest and a good grower/buyer could conceivably and unknowingly buy contaminated stock. Also, mite colonies tend to locate deep inside the core of a bulb making visual inspection and pesticide treatment difficult or ineffective on bare root bulbs. Still no excuse for me not being more clear, probably because of my untrustworthy line of thinking these days with so much junk being shipped internationally. Thanks for bringing the topic up to my attention; it's always appreciated, and I'll go ahead and Edit/Add a note to the above post referencing our two following posts here.
[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Feb 22, 2014 11:48 PM (+)]
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Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Feb 23, 2014 5:48 AM CST
Well I did plant the sprouts under the soil at about normal level for a non sprouted bulb and I'm happy to hear that those young bulbs should be vigorous but is it irrational for me to have expected two blooming size bulbs at $10 a peice? The sargentiae bulbs were $15 each and I know that that must be a mistake/problem.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Feb 23, 2014 8:02 AM CST
Joe, you should have received what was described. Reputable bulb sources most often 'bend over backwards' in making things right, to the best of their ability to do so. It's good you took pictures--those pictures may be very helpful to them in resolving any issue they may have with the original source they bought from.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Feb 23, 2014 9:29 AM CST
Yes, you should have received what was described. L. sargentiae and L. sulphureum produce very large bulbs for being species, but L. taliense does not. When my L. taliense (the so called Kaichen variety) had 22 blooms, the bulb was only about 3/4 inch greater in diameter than a golf ball. First blooms on L. callosum come when the bulb is nickel sized!
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Feb 24, 2014 5:12 PM CST
Just to update, I received a call back today and the person was very sorry and was willing to make sure I got the Sargentae bulbs and I was able to pick something else to substitute for the Taliense bulbs. I will update again when I receive the replacements.
Name: della
hobart, tasmania
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dellac
Feb 24, 2014 5:26 PM CST
Good news Smiling
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Feb 24, 2014 5:33 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, good news! Keeping my fingers crossed that you will get good stock from them now, whatever you choose to pick out.
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Feb 24, 2014 5:36 PM CST
I picked lilium parryi! (the lemon lily) fingers crossed Whistling
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Mar 8, 2014 3:08 PM CST
Update: They shipped me some very large and dividing Sargentiae bulbs. I would say that I have about six that should bloom after I separated them some. I substitued lilium parryi and received two small bulbs. They are stoliniferous in nature and that is my first bulb like that so we will see how that goes. All in all the tiny Taliense that I got are sprouting in pots, I eventually got very nice sized Sargentiae bulbs, and I'm mixed with my reaction to the parryi bulbs. I guess time will tell. That said, they were very accomodating with my substitution and did ship back very fast with sincere apologies. We will see how it goes from here but I'm not sure if I would use them again.
[Last edited by Joebass - Mar 8, 2014 4:05 PM (+)]
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Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
Mar 8, 2014 3:20 PM CST
Thanks for getting back to us.

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