Lilies forum: Planting lilies on their side?

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Name: Corey
Chicago (Zone 6a)
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Ispahan
Nov 11, 2011 9:23 PM CST
In Ed McRae's book, he writes that planting Lilium henryi bulbs on their side will stimulate stem bulblet production. Is this just because they would need to travel slightly further to get to the surface, thus creating more opportunities for the stem to root and form bulblets? I am curious to know if this technique would work for other lilies that produce stem bulblets as well. Has anyone ever tried it?
Lincoln, NE
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Moby
Nov 12, 2011 4:00 PM CST
Haven't tried it, I have too many bulblets as it is. Big Grin
Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
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pardalinum
Nov 12, 2011 4:34 PM CST

Moderator

Yeah, unless you have some major acreage...

Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Nov 12, 2011 9:24 PM CST
There are some lily species that produce stems that tend to wander in the ground before they emerge. Rather than shooting straight up from the bulb, they will veer off diagonally or even horizontally for a while, and emerge from the soil a distance away from the bulb's location. One reads about how they also produce bulblets along the way. Though I don't recall any author actually claiming they produced more bulblets than a normal straight up stem, I always had that idea.

My experience at least, hasn't really born that out. I grow four species that can do this: Lilium lankongense (most of the time), and not uncommonly, L. davidii, L. leichtlinii and L. maculatum. In fact every time I remove a non-vertical subterranean lily stem, I look especially for this trait, and have never found even the slightest increase in bulblet production. That is, until this year with one stem of L. davidii. I thought it was so interesting that I took a photo, not even thinking that I might ever post it. (Aren't you all the lucky ones...)

Thumb of 2011-11-13/Leftwood/541c8e

Bulblets were larger than normal, too. I wouldn't even call them bulblets had I not known of their origin.

I can only speculate why a bulb planted on its side might produce more bulblets, but I wonder if that might only be true for those bulbs that normally produce only straight up stems, and the disorientation of the stem so triggers the production. A worthy experiment. Smiling

There are a few species of crocus that naturally grow their bulbs sideways. But those aren't even true bulbs; they are actually corms. I have no idea if it relevant to this discussion, but I'm just sayin'.

Name: Anthony Gloriosoides[ sure!]
Rosetta,Tasmania,Australia (Zone 7b)
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gwhizz
Nov 12, 2011 9:40 PM CST
Interesting about L.Lankongense-I had a customer purchase a bulb 2 years ago, which grew up and out of the 6 inch pot drainhole. Further questions amongst the' knowledgable ones', i was advised L.Lankongense is a real wanderer,..,I tilt all of my ''HUGE" bulbs so the moisture doesnt settle in the "HUGE" pit they have in them..
lily freaks are not geeks!

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