The polyanthus lily (Polianthes) or tuberous, grows from a bulb. The bulb stores the nutrients and energy that fuel the plant's growth and flowering. Polianthes is a summer-flowering bulb that produces an 18-inch long flower stalk. Clusters of fragrant, white blossoms grow along one side of the stalk. Polianthus requires yearly replanting from U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones 5 to 8 as it can't survive frost or cool spring weather. Sowing the bulbs properly ensures the plants attain peak bloom each year.
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Things you need
- Bulb fertiliser
Till and loosen the soil in a well-drained, full-sun garden bed in late spring after all frost danger is past. Work a 2-inch layer of compost into the soil to improve the quality and moisture-retaining properties of the soil.
Plant the polianthes bulb so the top sits 4 inches beneath the soil surface. Set the bulb in the planting hole with the pointed end facing upward. Space the bulbs 8 inches apart in clusters of five bulbs. Space the bulb clusters 12 to 18 inches apart.
Dilute a soluble bulb fertiliser in water, following the fertiliser to water ratio recommended on the package. Water the newly planted bulbs with the fertiliser solution.
Water the bed once or twice a week so the top 6 inches of soil remains moist. Polianthes grows in soil that remains moist but doesn't become waterlogged.
Fertilise the bed once monthly with the soluble bulb fertiliser. Replace the weekly watering with the fertiliser watering during application weeks.
Tips and warnings
- Polianthes bulbs can't survive temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius. Dig up the bulbs and store them indoors once the plants die back in fall.
- Polyanthus lilies are hardy perennials in zones 8 to 11.
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