Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Easter Lilies

Beauty that delights the eye...fragrance that pleases the nose...purity and perfection that satisfy the Soul...I give you the Easter Lily...a FLOWER...and BULB...that anyone can grow.

Since Easter Lilies are dormant during the hot summer months when it takes extra effort simply to move about, they are ideal for Central Florida(Growing Zone 9). They withstand the occasional frosts, have almost no pests or diseases, multiply so rapidly that they more than pay for themselves, and need to be dug and moved about only every three years.
One of the easiest flowers to grow...the Bermuda Easter Lily...Lilium longiflorum harrisi...is a springtime joy. Bulblets an inch across will bloom, with the number of blooms increasing as the bulb grows larger. The average number of blooms for a mature bulb runs from 11 to 15, with 20 or more not unusual, held aloft on thick, strong stalks.
Set out the bulbs any time from mid-August to late October, about 2 feet apart, sun or shade. Since the soil of Central Florida is mostly sand, you need not prepare the entire garden space. Dig a hole about 8 inches square and 8 inches deep, drop in a big handful of fertilizer, mix it with the soil and set the bulb with its top 4 to 6 inches below the surface of the ground. Then leave them alone for three years.
Spacing them widely apart allows you to care for them with a hoe, without having to kneel or stoop. Cultivate only enough to keep down weeds. Let the weeds lie and hoe them into the soil the next time you cultivate.
When the plants are about 6 inches high, mulch with leaves, vegetable trimmings or shrub clippings. This keeps down weeds, helps to keep the ground cool, slows up evaporation of moisture and adds needed nutrients to the soil.
Any of these fertilizers gives good results: ordinary lawn or garden fertilizer, special azalea fertilizer, or a 4.8.6 formula. Don’t bother measuring...ust scatter by hand around the plants. Make sure to wash off with a hose any fertilizer which spills on the foliage. You don’t have to hoe it into the soil.

Give five applications of fertilizer: when plants are 6 inches high...when they are 1 foot high...when buds begin to show...when buds turn down...and after blooming in order to nourish the bulb for the next season. Water at least twice a week, giving enough to reach the roots, and continuing for a month after blooming. After the last application of fertilizer is made, all you need to do is keep out the weeds. When stems are dry and brittle. grasp them with a twisting motion and they will come away easily from the bulb.
When cutting blooms, leave 6 or 8 inches of stalk to feed the bulb. Cut at any time which is convenient for you; there is no hocus-pocus about time of day or wetness or dryness.
Dig your bulbs in August or September only when they become too crowded to care for easily. You can dig them more often but it isn’t necessary. The longer a lily bulb is left out of the ground, the more it deteriorates, eventually crumbling to powder. So reset them within a day or so and don’t expose them to the sun for more than a few minutes at a time. Then forget them until they come up sometime in November.
The only insects that chew on lilies are grasshoppers. To combat these, dust or spray with a natural pesticide made for flowering plants The only disease to contend with is MOSAIC. Signs of this are yellowed, stunted plants, flattened crowns, blasted buds and dappled white spots on the leaves. Dig out the infected plant immediately and burn it. As mosaic is said to be a virus in the soil, don’t set other bulbs in that location.
So, there you go: few set rules, no special fertilizers, no difficult technical care. They can be set at different depths, left alone for long periods of time and they multiply like bunnies. They are so well suited to this Growing Zone(9), that every garden in Central Florida should have a bed, or two, of them.

**Next on our Adventure...AZALEAS

No comments:

Post a Comment