Lilies forum: Pruning - when and how?

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Oct 20, 2017 7:01 PM CST
Hi, I’m new here. Pretty new to the gardening game. I’m from Australia so the seasons may be a little different depending on where you’re from. So I have these lilies which we purchased during winter (May) and they already had flowers on them. After some research I found it strange that they flowered in winter because they are spring / summer flowers? As they died we picked them off and kept only green leaves and healthy flowers as I believe this is a general rule for basically any plant. Since the bloom is over, we have had just the stem and leaves which I’ve left. Now I’ve noticed some new growth at the base of the stems. Was I or am I supposed to cut the stalks at any point? Do I leave them as they are? If someone can tell me what I am supposed to do and how to do it, I would greatly appreciate it. Please see photos. Thanks.
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Sydney, Australia (Zone 10b)
Oct 20, 2017 9:32 PM CST
The growth at the bottom is bulbils, they are normally removed and planted separately but I font know if doing that now is appropriate or would be a problem. They'll grow into a clone of the plant it's growing on and be a flowering bulb in a couple years.

The green leaves will die out on their own in the coming months, at the moment they'd be feeding the bulbs below so no need to prune yet.
Anyone with oryzalin (aka Surflan, Embargo), am looking for a small amount rather than 5litres from manufacturer (min size in Australia....)
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
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Oct 21, 2017 3:36 PM CST
Your lilies flowered out of season because they were tricked into growing at the "wrong" time. They are still summer flowering plants; it's just that May was late summer in the growth cycle they are in. I know this is confusing, let me explain.....

Let's suppose that you work the graveyard shift. Your work "day" is 12am to 8am, and you sleep during the day. Your "day" is actually nighttime, and your "night" is actually daytime. Although this is not a normal life schedule for humans, you are still a human. This does not change who your are. And why do you work the graveyard shift? Because your boss says so.

Now let's translate this scenario to plants. Seeds that normally sprout in springtime will always think it is spring when they sprout, no matter what time of year it actually is. Just like when you get up at night for your "day" at work, your body is ready for its day that is actually night. So if we get these seeds to sprout in winter, it is still spring in the life of the seeds. Why? Because the grower (their "boss") made them think that. This does not change what they are. A lettuce seed sprouted off-season is still lettuce.

And so it is with lilies.

The grower sprouted the lily bulbs at a "spring" time of his choosing, so the lily's growth cycle would produce flowers in May, even though May is actually winter.

Oct 21, 2017 10:02 PM CST
Protoavis - thanks for your reply. That clears things up for when I need to prune them.

Leftwood - thanks for your explanation. I figured they forced them into season. This must be why there is new growth as it’s going through the correct season so soon.

So with both of your information, the best thing to do is to leave it right? Leave the new growth and leave the leaves. Then in Autumn when the leaves brown and die off, trim them just above the soil and that’s it? Or is there something I should do with the new growth?
Name: della
hobart, tasmania
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Oct 28, 2017 3:09 AM CST
Hi Sammy Welcome!

I'd pick the baby bulbs off the stem now and give them their own pot to grow in. Use a good potting mix, cover the bulb bit, leave the leaves exposed, and water them in with a bit of seasol (encourages root growth). Put them somewhere protected from midday/afternoon sun, scratching birds (or cats!) and let them do their thing.

Oct 30, 2017 5:08 AM CST
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I have these flowers and their card says they are Sunny Borneo Oriental lilly. They are a beautiful flower and I need to know how to winterize and divide these rhizomes for next spring? Any help would be appreciated .

Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
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Oct 30, 2017 5:44 AM CST

Plants Admin

Hi and Welcome!

Could you tell us where you are located? In most cases you won't need to do anything to them - just cut the stems back after they have turned brown. The stems usually stay green for some time after flowering to build the bulb back up for next year. Unless you are in a very warm climate, you won't need to lift the bulbs (and Liliums resent this generally anyway).

You also don't need to divide them until they get crowded or have sent up multiple stems from the one bulb for a couple of years.

Hope that helps and please feel free to ask more questions!
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