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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 simply needed more time in the latter part of the season to fully harden off, and firm up for 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.

We found that even in the warmer Oregon field in 2019, early digging losses approached 30% meaning they need the additional time in ground as well, requiring late fall harvesting. As the summer progresses, a few Orientals might be added to the fall lineup, but at this time, we feel the chances of that are slim at best. If you see something here and feel you will wait until fall to order, it will not be here in the fall, you will have to wait until spring 2021. There will be a full harvest in late fall for spring 2021 shipping.

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) works here. 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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