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July 6th, 2012

Lily Love Affair

Last year in October I planted a 25 lily bulbs of one sort: the magnificent Orienpet ‘Lavon’, I planted them in bunches up the front path, across the front of the house, and at the back gate. They have more than fulfilled my vision of walking through a lily grove with blooms at head height so the scent is instantly enjoyable; the stems range from 5 feet to 6 feet, and the blooms, up to six inches across, are richly perfumed of almond and vanilla. They’ve been blooming about a week in the humidity and heat, and are just beginning to drop their petals. What a feast.  Here’ s a photo taken this morning, along with what John Scheepers/Van Engelen bulbs has to say about Orienpet cultivation.

Orienpet lily 'Lavon': a single stem can be six feet tall

Easy Fall Planting
Among the last of the fall harvested flower bulbs, Orienpet Lilies ship in mid-October just as soon as we receive them in our warehouse from the Netherlands. Hardy for horticultural zones 4 through 8 (and maybe even 9), Orienpet Lily bulbs should be planted in the fall when the soil has cooled down to about 55 degrees F (after two weeks of sweater weather when night time temps hover in the 40s). Orienpet Lilies need a minimum of six hours of daily sunlight and well-draining, neutral pH soil.

These 14/16 cm bulbs should be planted 6 to 8 inches deep and 8 to 10 inches apart with the pointed sprouting tip up and the basal plate (bottom of the bulb where the roots grow) down. Planting Lily bulbs in the fall rather than the spring affords them the time to set down roots and get established before the warming spring soil demands top growth. Space the bulbs properly to make sure there is good air circulation between the plants so that the leaves can easily dry off after rainfall. This helps to keep the foliage and plants healthy.

Over time, Orienpet Lilies benefit from a 4-10-6 granular fertilizer top dressing three times a year: at fall planting time, in the early spring when the sprouts emerge and when the flower starts to die back in late spring. (Don’t ever put fertilize in the planting hole: it could cause root burn that would stunt plant growth.) If winters in your area bring temperature spiking and inconsistent snow cover, a 2 inch layer of mulch may be applied after the surface of the ground freezes.

Good mulching mediums include straw, salt marsh hay or oak leaves. Prior to planting, Orienpet Lily bulbs may be stored in a cool, dry place with low humidity, away from heat, frost and strong sunlight at a temperature between 50 and 70 degrees F.

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