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Increasing from Seed BUT These Will Not be the Same

By: Doreen Sage


Now, for the fun stuff -- SEEDS, which you can produce yourself with the help of your lily blooms. No two bulbs grown by cross pollination will be 100% identical to each other or to the parents.

There are many kinds of lilies and some seeds grow differently than others. This will be about Asiatics.

To grow seeds, the gardener has to get seeds. The best way is to produce your own -- hybridizing. Pick a parent lily bloom which will produce the seeds, then pollinate with pollen from some of your other lilies. Cover pollinated stigma with foil unless you want additional help from bees, bugs and wind.

The parent plant you choose to grow the seeds should be a good strong, sturdy plant and one that you like. Growing seeds will take nutrients that would otherwise go to the bulb. Do fertilize. The pollen can be from any lily, but usually like kinds work best. i.e. Asiatics to Asiatics.

Some gather pollen from many lilies and mix it together and even keep it until the lily they want to pollinate opens. Then there can only be a record of the one parent.

The seeds should ripen on the stalk and be gathered in the fall when the pods are mature, brownish anal dry. When pods are completely dry, remove seeds from the pods. If an early frost threatens before pods are ready, cut stems and hang in a warm, dry place to finish the ripening process.

As you pollinate each pod, attach a tag stating where the pollen came from, if you know, and the date. When seeds are harvested, list parent plant and then the pollinator on label.

Some growers plant seeds outside in the ground as soon as the seeds are dry. Others keep seeds in the freezer until spring and plant in the spring. In Manitoba, it really doesn't matter much as frozen is frozen. Growers have many different methods of indoor planting and growing.

Whether you plan to plant your seeds outside in the fall they are gathered or the following spring, make certain that the space to be used is well tilled and weed free.

Make a flat bottomed seeding space. This can be as wide as your hoe or whatever shape you like. Seeds can be candled for fertility before planting and chaff can be removed. You can do these things if you like or you can just plant all your seeds with large pieces of chaff removed. Seeds need to be covered with about one half inch of soil. Remember to label planting area well.

For lily seeds to do well, plant in a well drained area. If this is a problem prepare a slightly raised bed.

Water sparingly at first, never allowing soil to become saturated. Soil must also never be allowed to dry out.

Keep an eye out for bugs and disease. If there are signs of either/both, spray appropriately.

The seed bed should be mulched with some fine material to help keep moisture even. Materials such as dried grass clippings or flax chives work well. First lily leaves must be able to come through the mulch, so it must be fine and even. You may notice that many first leaves have the remains of the seed at the tip.

The seedlings can be left in this bed for a couple of seasons. However larger bulbs could be removed after the end of the first growing season and allowed to go on without competition. Some will bloom the second year.

Do not be disappointed when most of your seedlings blooms and they are all a disappointing colour. Look closely, as there are one or two that our outstanding. When you are dealing with cross pollinated seeds, the outcome is in the hands of God.

Grow your few special ones for another year and, with maturity, they could turn out to be quite lovely. You do have a problem as to what to do with the rest. Since you will repeat this exercise every season, you will quickly have many lily bulbs. Then, try crossing your crosses.