Lilies forum: Do I need a Wine Fridge?

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Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
Aug 20, 2019 12:05 AM CST
I got the new third edition of "Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest" for my birthday. Professors Kruckeberg and Chalker-Scott are kinda my heroes (he passed away a few years ago but she finished the book). In it they describe Lilium bolanderi. I fell in love. This one grows in open dry ground in northern California and southern Oregon, so it sounds perfect for my garden near Seattle which I don't water much. But of course it is not commercially available. I managed to get some seeds from Alplains seeds. Now I am not sure how to germinate them. I have had success with various lilies, even the warm then cool kinds. I have a Martagon I germinated from my own plants- I sprouted it on the kitchen counter then in the fridge this year. L. bolanderi I looked up in the Pacific Bulb Society website, Darm Crook calls this a "Immediate hypogeal cool germinator" that requires 48-52 F for a month or two.
Well this does not seem to be a Deno warm-cool type which works in my fridge, or even something I can winter sow. It sounds like Alplains seeds may not always have this, and I found no other sources, so i don't want to screw it up.
But it looks like I could buy an electric wine cooler for $120 or so....
What do y'all think?
p.s. Any recommended books on lilies for the enthusiast who likes botany, is a plant nut, and might try a bit of hybridizing?
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
Aug 20, 2019 6:21 AM CST


Thoughts for your p.s portion:
Lilies: A Guide for Growers and Collectors.
by Edward Austin-McRae

And joining Northerlies American Lily Society. New members receive a 'Let's Grow Lilies' book and it has a very good tutorial on lilies and hybridizing.
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
Aug 20, 2019 10:44 AM CST


I say buy the wine cooler. Seeds won't take up much space in it, plenty of room left over for well, you know.
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Aug 20, 2019 10:56 AM CST
I haven't been very successful long term with the western North American Lilium species. The Minnesota climate here is pretty opposite from what they need. But I have lots of experience germinating seed, and Lilium bolanderi seems to be an easier one. Martagons are easier yet, similar, but different.

Dr. Deno used quite strict methods for his testing for uniformity. No single group of methods works for all seed, and as you discovered, western North American Lilium species germination requirements don't fit any of the regimes he used. Plants (and seeds) can be very forgiving, and can explain some of the data he recorded for western lilies.

Of all the dryland western lilies, I think L. columbianum ought to be the easiest to grow long term, as it can be successfully grown even in England. L. bolanderi ought to do fine, as long as your summers are dry enough to compensate for the cooler summer temps I think(?) Seattle receives compared to their native haunts.

I never used a fridge or a wine cooler type for germination these seed. Ground temperature here next to the basement wall remains at 50-55°F pretty much year round. So I used a small styrofoam box with three sides remove that fit snugly into a basement corner against the exposed cement wall.
If you can't use your outside ambient temps, you'll need something like a wine fridge.

Darm's treatises on the PBS site are very useful to adapt to your needs. Are you too warm for natural winter germination and growth of L. bolanderi? Also, if you would want to put out a query on the Lilium yahoo group or PBS list, I'm sure your will find members in your area that grow western lilies that could give more advice. Or you could search their archives.

A few tidbits of advice I have learned along the way:
-- -- Once the seed bulblet produces a growing leaf inside baggie, that leaf is incredibly fragile. So I've found it more advantageous to transplant as soon as I see a leaf emerging from the bulb. If you catch it early, you can bury the seed bulb a quarter to half inch below the surface and the leaf will continue to grow and emerge. If you haven't caught the growth stage early enough and the leaf is already greening or forming the part of the leaf that should be green with light, then you need to expose the tip of that leaf to light. If you don't, you risk no above ground growth at all for that season, or growth will emerge a month or two later, and often ambient temps at that time might not be to their liking as much.
-- -- Sometimes actual seed germination (radicle growth - or in this case, hypogeal growth) is very uniform within a week. Sometimes not, within a month or so. I suspect they would pretty much all be uniform if we knew the correct optimal conditions for that particular provenance of a species.
-- -- Even though these species often will grow in clay base soils in the wild, they need very very light soils in a pot.

I wish I had pics of my germinations for these western lilies, but my experimenting was before I had a digital camera.

Regarding books, look into purchasing this Kew Gardening Guide: Lilies by Victoria Matthews. It's out of print but can be had for cheap used, probably still. I bought mine postpaid for $6 about five years ago.
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
Aug 20, 2019 1:55 PM CST
Thanks everyone, I am going to order some books.

I might have a friend with a wine cooler. I have about 30 seeds, I think I will try half planted now outside, and half in a cooler. Hopefully that will give me some plants. I worry about outside, the other day I went out to water my Martagons, each has one leaf. Well something had neatly eaten three of them! I assume a bird, since there was no slug slime trail. Possibly there is enough of a bulb to survive and come back next year, I won't throw them out.

Rick I found the lily info in this book quite interesting. I have tried and failed a few times to establish L. columbianum and L. pardalinum in my garden. Failed. Also multiple Asiatic species such as L. davidii. None have established although the martagons love my half shaded spots here. This book may have explained why- they note most of our native lilies are from woodland or moist open habitats. I hardly water in the summer, so it is totally dry. We have gotten only about an inch of rain in the last two months, although the forecast is for 1/2" tomorrow, then it may be dry again until the rains start in October. Even then it is often just misting, not enough to soak the ground. I struggle with many Asian plants from places where it rains in the summer. People here who water all summer do just great with them, but I prefer plants that can make it on their own (well I do water my Blue Himalayan Poppies). This book says that the L. bolanderi is the exception to the moist preference of the other lilies, it lives on brushy dry hillsides with manzanita and buckbrush!

I think I really should join PBS. I have been using the website for 10 years, paying nothing. I think it is time to pay my fair share.

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