METRO PLUS

Fragrant foliage for summer

CHITRA RADHAKRISHNAN

Easter Lily (left); Tiger Lily (below); Spider Lily (top).

Easter Lily (left); Tiger Lily (below); Spider Lily (top).  

SUMMER IS an ideal season to grow lilies, be it for the garden patch or the living room corner. The different hues in which these fine-looking flowers come can add colour to the surroundings apart from the subtle perfume they bring. The bulbs can be stored for the next season

Fragrant foliage for summer

Spider Lily (Hymenocallis Speciosa) belonging to the family Amaryllidaeceae is an excellent plant for a sunny window. They do well in normal room temperature during the active growth-period in a rich soil-based potting mixture. This bulbous plant comes from West Indies. The leaves are strap shaped up to two feet long arranged in double rows. With a greenish tube at the back, the white fragrant flowers are about three inches across having wide corona with wavy margin and linked by stamens, the whole set off by six narrow spidery segments.

Fragrant foliage for summer

Spider lilies can be grown in the shady corners in the garden. Keep the soil fairly dry until growth starts. Give plenty of water in the growing season and keep dry in winter. Propagation is through off shoots from the parent bulb and flowering occurs at the beginning of summer.

Tiger Lily (Lilium Tigrinum) is one of the most exquisite lilies you can grow. The bulb is white and ovoid while the long stem is dark green or purplish in colour with dark green linear leaves arranged alternate on it. Flowers in racemes of 10-12 are scentless orange-red dotted with purple brown dots. Tiger lily does best in rich, moist soil and can be grown in partial shade in the garden or in pots. For potting, cover the bottom of the pot with coarse gravel to enable good drainage. Plants should start to shoot up in 2-3 weeks. Keep the pot moist and watch for the lilies to flower in about six weeks.

Tiger lilies flower in summer. When the last flowers die, cut them off right below the stalk. After the leaves wither cut off the stalk completely. Store the bulbs in dry moss and leave it till the next season.

Easter Lily (Lilium Longiflorum) of Liliaceae family is a popular lily much cultivated commercially. The long leafy stem of up to three feet height has sessile, lanceolate alternative leaves and cluster of several fragrant, pure white, funnel-shaped flowers re-curved at their tips, and are 5-6 inches long. Easter lilies can be grown as isolated groups, in flowerbeds, borders or in pots. Fill pots half full with soil burying bulb halfway. Allow it to hibernate for 12 weeks covering the pots. Bring into light gradually. Add a little soil each week until bulb is covered. During budding, feed the lilies with moderate light.

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