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Queen of the Lilies

Spicy Orientals
Important Fall 2020 harvest notice: As our long time customers know, because our growing season here in the Pacific Northwest has been getting shorter and shorter each year, with less heat over summer, we were finding that the Orientals in our home field often needed more time in the latter part of the season to fully harden off and firm up for early harvest. Without going into the debate over global warming / cooling / climate change, we have found that the Oriental lilies on our farm are emerging later (a month or more than in the past) in the spring due to the excessive, prolonged cold along with heavy rains, and though blooming normally in July/August, they are not starting to fully firm up for safe digging until late October. Leaves are staying green until much later than usual, which means the lily bulbs are still using them to fatten up for winter.

The Good News for Fall 2020: We actually have had a spring this year and the following orientals came up right on schedule. Based on past years experience, we feel these lilies will be ready to harvest for fall shipping. Though we could slide into another "ice age" this summer, for the time being, all looks good.

These lily bulbs (Lilium) produce some the the most exotic and showy flowers in the plant kingdom, with casual observers often mistaking Oriental Lily flowers for huge orchids. They prefer slightly acid, well-drained soil; where temperature are consistently above 90 degrees F. during the summer, plant in dappled shade or where the hot afternoon sun will be blocked.

Lily Bulbs the size of your fist or smaller should have 5 to 6 inches of soil covering them. The old adage of "2-1/2 times the depth (of the bulb) is a great rule to follow for Orientals. If you have heavy soil, it would be better to plant a bit more shallow or use a raised bed for better drainage.

The header photo shown is in the hybridizing greenhouse and the colored ribbons are selections that will be planted out for further evaluation under field conditions. Oriental lilies come primarily in shades of pink, red, rose and white.
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