The tree lily or lily tree, depending on whom you ask, is an extremely tall lily--but it is not a tree. It is an Asiatic lily hybrid which can grow up to 6 or 7 feet after a few years. Tree lilies can be found in several colours. There are white, yellow, pink, rose and bi-coloured plants. Lilies are grown from bulbs, which are set into the ground in very early spring. The lilies die back in fall and may be cut to the ground when the foliage yellows. In spring, divide them to encourage better flowering and for propagation.
Dig out the bulbs of the tree lily in fall when the foliage is beginning to die back. Cut the foliage off when you have unearthed the plant. Brush off as much dirt as you can and bring the bulbs to a flat surface in a warm, dry location. Allow the bulbs to dry overnight.
Separate off any scales. The scales are the thinner, unformed new bulbs that form on the exterior of the main bulb. Don't remove them all as the parent bulb will need some for the next season. Push away from the main bulb and the scales will pop off.
Dust the scales with fungicide and place them in a plastic bag with moistened sphagnum moss. The moss only needs to be damp. Too much water and the scales will rot. Put the bag in a room where temperatures are 21.1 degrees Celsius. In a few weeks they will begin to swell and put out tiny roots.
Chill the scales for six to twelve weeks. You can store the bag in the refrigerator or pot up the scales in potting soil and place the pots outdoors. The plants will swell in spring and form bulblets which are just smaller bulbs.
Transplant the bulblets in early spring. Immerse them into the ground 1 or 2 inches deep.
The plants will sprout in the first year but will not produce flowers. The second year there will be a few blooms but the real show begins the third year when the bulbils are full sized bulbs.
Tips and warnings
- The plants will sprout in the first year but will not produce flowers. The second year there will be a few blooms but the real show begins the third year when the bulbils are full sized bulbs.