Lilies forum: Kushi Maya vs Lilium nepalense

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Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Phenolic
Jul 8, 2015 6:21 AM CST
Hello, everyone!

I'm relatively new to growing lilies. I have a few clumps of Asiatic lilies and a few Stargazer lilies, and some tiny "baby" lilies from a yellow asiatic and Triumphator cross I did out of curiousity. (My "baby" lilies did bloom a few years back, but have been mowed down by lily beetles multiple times since.)

Lilium nepalense has caught my eye. Its green and purple blooms are very striking--but I have heard that it is difficult to grow successfully in the average garden. The Oriental-nepalense hybrid is supposedly basically Lilium nepalense, but a lot easier to grow.

My main concern is how cold hardy and drought/wet tolerant Kushi Maya and Lilium nepalense are. My garden is located in a zone 6/5 location (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), but the winters have been either unreliably mild or unreliably cold. Would anyone with experience growing either of these be able to share some of your experience?
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
Jul 8, 2015 7:24 AM CST
I have never grown the species but I have Kushi Maya in its second year about to bloom and last winter was viciously cold. So far so good and it even multiplied!

Celebrating Gardening: 2015
patweppler
Jul 8, 2015 7:51 AM CST
I am Ontario Canada here and have both going to bloom this year
Nepalense is very fussy on how it grows and does not like the wet falls at all......
I am planting mine once they bloom under an overhang on my house that seldom gets much rain but enough snow and see how it goes

Kushi Maya they say is far easier to grow.........

one is a species and one is cross.............

I opted to try both of them here but Kushi Maya looks very sturdy and is putting out great leaves on the plant and so on
Nepalense is far off from blooming yet and it travels quite a way in the pot or ground before it even blooms.........it is species.....
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
Jul 8, 2015 8:22 AM CST
Welcome to the Forum, Phenolic!

While Kushi Maya has Lilium nepalense in its parentage, it and Lilium nepalense are unmistakeably different. Kushi Maya is far easier to grow. Lilium nepalense, being a wild species, varies greatly in form and color. This one can be green or only tinged greenish, with large dark chocolate centers or smaller not very dark centers. It's likely the vendors who sell them don't even know themselves what form they have, since the vendors usually don't grow them themselves.

FYI, since you're relatively new to lilies, species types in general normally have much smaller bulbs than hybrids, and tend to be less vigorous, too. It is very common for new bulb buyers to be disappointed when they receive their shipment of a species bulb that is small (compared to hybrids), when in fact it is the species' normal size.

Celebrating Gardening: 2015
patweppler
Jul 8, 2015 8:26 AM CST
Rick is very right on this and he is gives great info on this site as well......
when I got Nepalense I was surprised that the size of the bulb is the size of an acorn.....
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Phenolic
Jul 9, 2015 7:01 AM CST
Lily bulbs can be the size of an acorn and still bloom? That's really surprising! The davidii bulbs I see for sale at Asian grocery stores seem huge in comparison now.

I guess I'll give Kushi Maya a go. Since you're also in Canada, Pat, would you be able to share some good sources for lily bulbs or seeds that will ship to Canada?

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
Jul 9, 2015 4:50 PM CST
Many species bulbs can get big, but it takes many more years. Bulbs (usually L. davidii) that you see at Asian markets are harvested at a particular size range not only for economic reasons, but as they grow larger still, the scales tend to separate and allow dirt inside the bulb that is difficult to clean. Certainly, any bulb sold at the food market is large enough to bloom. Most species who's bulbs are the size of a nickel are too small to bloom, but some, like L. callosum and L. concolor, will bloom at that size.
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Phenolic
Jul 10, 2015 5:29 AM CST
Thanks for the info, Rick. I guess the rather large sizes of hybrid lily bulbs is from heterosis or unwitting selection by breeders.

Celebrating Gardening: 2015
patweppler
Jul 10, 2015 6:31 AM CST
Phenolic said:Lily bulbs can be the size of an acorn and still bloom? That's really surprising! The davidii bulbs I see for sale at Asian grocery stores seem huge in comparison now.

I guess I'll give Kushi Maya a go. Since you're also in Canada, Pat, would you be able to share some good sources for lily bulbs or seeds that will ship to Canada?



I almost sent back and complained about Nepalense when it came and seen it and posted on here to find out that it is that size.... the blooming flower once it has bloomed will be very big though. At the moment mine are not blooming yet.
I ordered a lot of my bulbs from the Lily Nook and also ordered some from SW Gardens........you can google them and see what they offered
SW Gardens is here in Ontario and the Lily Nook is out in Manitoba........both were good to work with and both are every knowledgeable and the bulbs are very healthy as well......
great selection as well

Kushi Maya has not bloomed here yet but will soon and it came from the Lily Nook. the plants are huge but no flowers as of yet although they have buds.......about 3 a piece I would say that I can see....

Nepalense was just for fun and very expensive but wanted to see what it looks like and was curious

another good lily for you to try is Regale.........it is beautiful and reasonable and pretty much grows everywhere. It is also a species trumpet but the bulb is pretty good size.......

Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Phenolic
Jul 10, 2015 6:44 AM CST
patweppler said:

I almost sent back and complained about Nepalense when it came and seen it and posted on here to find out that it is that size.... the blooming flower once it has bloomed will be very big though. At the moment mine are not blooming yet.
I ordered a lot of my bulbs from the Lily Nook and also ordered some from SW Gardens........you can google them and see what they offered
SW Gardens is here in Ontario and the Lily Nook is out in Manitoba........both were good to work with and both are every knowledgeable and the bulbs are very healthy as well......
great selection as well

Kushi Maya has not bloomed here yet but will soon and it came from the Lily Nook. the plants are huge but no flowers as of yet although they have buds.......about 3 a piece I would say that I can see....

Nepalense was just for fun and very expensive but wanted to see what it looks like and was curious

another good lily for you to try is Regale.........it is beautiful and reasonable and pretty much grows everywhere. It is also a species trumpet but the bulb is pretty good size.......



What a coincidence! I just ordered some L. regale seeds to try out last week to fill out an "empty" patch of lawn. :whistling:
It will be a while before I will actually see any L. regale blooms, but from what I have heard about L. regale the wait will be well worth it.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Jan 24, 2016 8:44 PM CST
Some comments on Kushi Maya. It's a real survivor with a strong will to live. The very bulb that produced the flowers shown below was an extra that, along with several other extra 'freebies' got pushed to the back of the lily fridge and out of sight---out of mind. These weren't discovered until mid summer the next season when stems were noticed growing around in the back in the fridge. To give all of them at least a chance to survive, I dug a trench in an old matured, half sodded over, compost pile outside the fence line in a fairly cool spot and covered the bulbs and stems. I never even watered them in. I forgot about them. Totally neglected, they did not get mulched for winter. The following year, 2014, the Kushi Maya was the strongest one growing from the mix (photos). It's stamina really got my attention and I even expanded the fence line around it. All the other freebies were removed during the fall of 2014 to give away, but once again, Kusha Maya did not get winter mulched. In 2015, the bulb had a wide double nose that produced 11 buds. (no photos due to health issues at the time). And, once again, this bulb was not winter mulched for the winter of. 2015-2016. My bets are it will be even stronger. Even though it's in a Div. VI garden, it's earned it's special little spot where it took root. Smiling
Thumb of 2016-01-25/Roosterlorn/cdc310


Thumb of 2016-01-25/Roosterlorn/cd4ae9


Thumb of 2016-01-25/Roosterlorn/954ef0

Name: della
hobart, tasmania
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dellac
Jan 24, 2016 9:36 PM CST
Love it! And the story too. :)
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
Jan 24, 2016 11:06 PM CST
I have to agree with Lorn about the vigor of Kushi Maya. I'm not sure why people have problems with it. Aside of little spring micro nutrient deficiency along the same lines as with some of my martagon section lilies, they have really been carefree for me. They are not in such good soil as a compost pile, but in the three years I have had them, they have doubled with each stem having 4-5 well-formed blooms.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Jan 25, 2016 6:50 PM CST

Moderator

I see the Iowa Regional Lily Society lists 'Kushi Maya' as "NOT hardy", which I would agree with here. It diminished so much after one year here that I would call it an annual.

http://www.iowaregionallilysociety.com/sale_second_page.html
Tracey
[Last edited by magnolialover - Jan 25, 2016 6:51 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
Jan 25, 2016 7:59 PM CST
Tracey---there must be another problem, maybe with your bulb(s) or something else, because Rick, Joe and I applaud it's hardiness and adaptability. I've got them growing in two different gardens. Now, Carol just asked me to order 3 more (Faraway) which she wants to plant by the front door in her display so everyone that comes here can see them up close. By all means, try again, maybe in a different spot. Smiling
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Jan 25, 2016 8:22 PM CST

Moderator

With the sale at IRLS, I have ordered a couple to give them another try. My one and only bulb came from Faraway via Hyde. Had it in a raised bed with plenty of compost in there (just about as spoiled as a bulb gets here). The other bulb you guys get really excited about that I haven't had impressive luck with is Lankon..and because of you all, I am trying that one again too. Whistling
Tracey
Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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William
Jan 25, 2016 8:54 PM CST
I remember a couple of unhappy customers here in Sweden buying 'Kushi Maya' from H.W.Hyde & Son some years back when it was new and expensive. Bulbs apparently had rot issues, bloomed okay, but returned with very weak shoots the following year. One of the buyers had no problem growing L. nepalense, (I assume with rain cover for autumn/winter) so I don't think one could blame the buyer here, as he obviously knew what he was doing. Rather there were probably some bad bulbs around at that time.

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
Jan 25, 2016 10:46 PM CST
I would think the problem is "something else" too, other than cold. In Minnesota, orientals don't last long in neutral soils (and certainly not alkaline), but need at least somewhat acid soil to be winter hardy and thrive. I remember how much you like Salmon Star, Tracey, and I wonder if hybrids like that are more tolerant. Your summers are also hotter than Lorn's or mine, and both places that I have Kushi Maya are open shade most of the day. The better clump grows on the east slope of a 2.5 ft high mound, and is "packed in" among other flowers so the soil is hardly visible. They got a heavy mulching the first winter, 4 inches the second, and hardly any (2 inches) this winter because it's been so warm.

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