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Oriental hybrids - aristocrats in the world of lilies

Oriental lily Conca d'Or

Oriental lilies, or more correctly - Oriental hybrids (Orientalhybrids), possess unusually beautiful, large and fragrant flowers and, undoubtedly, belong to the aristocrats among the lilies, and all other summer flowers. Personally, I find it difficult to imagine the second half of summer without the already familiar scent of oriental lilies, reminding us that warm July is already ending and cool August is inexorably approaching.

In modern literature, in my opinion, there are several persistent prejudices that significantly inhibit the spread of these beautiful plants in our areas. For example, it is believed that oriental lilies are much more delicate and capricious compared to others, that they have a very long growing season and late flowering - at the very end of August. As a result, they leave in the winter poorly prepared and therefore often freeze out. My personal experience of growing oriental hybrids in the northeast of the Moscow region speaks of something completely different.

Modern technologies and genetic engineering have made it possible to create a huge number of new hybrids that bloom from the second half of July, even if planted late enough in spring. The flowering of new varieties is often delayed until mid-September, and properly selected and well-groomed varieties in the aggregate can bloom for at least one and a half, or even two months. These are, I emphasize, modern hybrids - OT, OA, LO and many other variants of simple and complex crosses.

For reference: OT, OA, LO, etc. hybrids - abbreviations from the generally accepted names of groups of lilies: O - oriental (oriental lilies), T - tubular, A - Asian lilies and L - longiflorums. These are interspecific hybrids, as a rule, fixing most of the positive parental traits in their offspring. Hybrids can be more complex - between species and existing hybrids, for example, LOO = LO + O, OOT = O + OT, etc. Hybridization made it possible to create such a wide range of shapes, sizes, colors of flowers and exteriors of plants that these lilies are sometimes more similar to their counterparts from other groups than to their predecessors, oriental lilies. As a result of this painstaking work, the flowering period of oriental hybrids has significantly increased, as well as their winter hardiness and resistance to diseases.

Lily Lavon (OT)

Of course, the bulbs of oriental hybrids are unlikely to overwinter on the surface of the earth in fallen leaves or grass, as sometimes happens with lost tulip bulbs, but my personal experience shows that it is not difficult to ensure the wintering of oriental lilies. Generally accepted guidelines are for oriental lily bulbs to winter in dry soil. Therefore, in autumn, in dry weather, planting lilies must be covered with waterproof material in order to protect them from excess moisture in the fall. About 6-7 years ago, when the bulbs of oriental hybrids were still quite expensive and rare, I did just that. He put a greenhouse over them or covered them with foil, like cucumbers. At the same time, I planted a dozen bushes of dahlias and bright begonias there, which in the soil in September can turn black from the first frost, as well as a couple of dozen mini-gladioli "Glamini" of different colors. Gladioli and dahlias were deliberately planted much later than in the open field, at the very end of May or at the beginning of June to obtain a later home cut. Sometimes it turned out by itself, I just did not have time to plant everything on time, I bought some plants at seasonal sales and according to mail catalogs. As a result, I received a double benefit - my lilies really went "dry" before the winter, and until the end of October or even mid-November there were fresh dahlias, crown anemones, begonias, marigolds and gladioli in the house, while their brethren were already in the ground removed. They looked very funny in a vase along with fresh blue and white octobrines.

Since then, my collection has grown and the plants no longer fit under a small greenhouse. In addition, I really wanted to decorate other parts of the garden with these beautiful flowers, including the plots that were empty after the tulips were dug.Although planting lilies after tulips is usually not recommended, since they have several similar diseases and can be affected by the same viruses, sometimes, due to a lack of space, I did it anyway. And the result turned out to be excellent - either I came across healthy bulbs, or these hybrids became more resistant to diseases. Or maybe the soil after planting and digging tulips was looser, more fertilized and breathable, but the result was obvious! All lilies bloomed beautifully and hibernated well with almost no shelter. Sometimes I mulched them a little and covered them with coniferous litter, and on top with a little spruce branches. There were single attacks, but the probability of bulbs freezing in winter was no more than 10%. Even in a rather harsh winter of 2010, roses and clematis were very frozen in many flower growers, but almost all oriental lilies came out of winter with dignity!

By the way, it is advisable to shelter lilies in the spring, when the threat of recurrent spring frosts still persists. The spring shelter can be much lower in order to preserve the tops of the newly hatched peduncles. But you can not do this, with a high probability everything will work out anyway.

Oriental lily Reve

Modern Oriental hybrids come in very different heights, including very short stature, only 30-50 cm.This immediately leads to two very important conclusions - they can be grown almost at the very edge of flower beds and mixed borders and, more interestingly, use in small floor vases, balcony boxes and patio containers. In this case, it is much easier to provide the plants with a "drier" autumn and a warmer wintering, one has only to remove the containers in the fall in a dry place, and for the winter - in the basement or not very freezing utility room.

It is the Oriental hybrids that are most often used in forcing to obtain cut flowers. And the reason is still the same - beautiful and large, almost airy flowers, usually with a strong floral scent. Although this is a matter of taste. On the street, most people perceive this aroma as very pleasant and mesmerizing, but in the confined space of rooms, someone may not like it.

Oriental hybrids are recommended to be planted, depending on the climate, in August - September or in the spring, in April - May. The soil layer above an adult bulb should, on average, be two diameters, but not less than 10-12 cm. In late autumn, when the ground is already slightly frozen, it is advisable to mulch the plants with fallen leaves or coniferous needles or peat with a layer of 10-15 cm. In more northern regions lily bulbs should be planted a little deeper than the recommended depths, the soil layer above the bulb should be 15-20 cm. In this case, the lilies "sprout" a little later than usual and, as a rule, do not fall under frost, which may be even at the beginning of June, and small shoots are easier to cover.

Oriental lily Tigerwoods

It is useful to plant various low ground cover or creeping ornamental deciduous shrubs next to Oriental lilies. First, the fit will look modern and stylish. Secondly, in the heat, the earth will not overheat much. Thirdly, in winter, shrubs will trap snow and create additional insulation for bulbs and neighboring perennials. And, fourthly, they will protect the newly hatched shoots of lilies from possible frosts in the spring.

Oriental lilies need a loose, nutritious, permeable soil for good growth. On heavy, damp or poorly cultivated soils, lily bulbs can rot due to the accumulation of moisture between the scales. Such soils must first be made looser and more breathable by adding sand, peat, perlite, vermiculite or other disintegrants. It is advisable to add a little ash and well-rotted compost. Using fresh manure, as with most other plants, is strongly discouraged.

The planting interval of Oriental lilies usually depends on the height and vigor of the varieties being planted. I would recommend planting the bulbs at a distance of at least 20-25 cm. This will allow the lilies to eat well and provide good ventilation in the root areas most susceptible to all kinds of fungal diseases. It is better not to loosen the soil around the lilies during the growing season, but only to mulch, since there is a possibility of disturbing the superficially located supra-bulbous roots or children formed on the stems, or accidentally breaking a rather fragile young stem in May - early June.

Lily bulbs purchased for planting or dug out on their site are planted immediately, without drying them, such as tulips or hyacinths, since the juicy scales of lilies do not have their own protective shell. Before planting the bulb, it is advisable to hold it for 30 minutes in some trustworthy fungicide. Then they need to dry for 3-4 hours in a well-ventilated place in the shade to eliminate excess moisture between the scales. The surviving roots can be pruned for ease of planting to about 5-8 cm.

If it becomes necessary to store the bulbs before planting, then they should be carefully folded into boxes or perforated bags, shifting with slightly damp peat, sand or sphagnum moss. Sometimes suppliers and sellers use fresh dry softwood sawdust for this. But in them the bulbs are stored a little worse, at least if we talk about shelf life exceeding 3 weeks.

Lilia Donato (OT)

Non-transplanted lilies need to be fed in August-early September with phosphorus-potassium, and in spring, when the sprouts reach a height of about 10 cm, with complex fertilizers with a predominant content of nitrogen and phosphorus. At this time, the so-called auxiliary or supra-luminal roots begin to develop on the peduncles of lilies, which will significantly increase the efficiency of fertilizer assimilation. Closer to the beginning of budding, it is advisable to lightly feed the lilies with complex summer fertilizers again. If the bulbs are planted at the end of summer or at the very beginning of autumn, then autumn dressing should be minimal, and it is better to exclude them altogether and limit ourselves to only small additions of ash to the soil.

Oriental lilies prefer sun or light partial shade. Abundant sunlight throughout the day is not necessary for lilies, but highly desirable in the morning or evening. Cutting lily flowers, like the vast majority of bulbs, is recommended early in the morning, keeping as many leaves on the stem as possible. Removing a large number of leaves leads to a deterioration in flowering and even its complete absence next year.

To prevent lilies from being annoyed by mice, it is useful to plant imperial or Persian fritillaria around the beds, crocus or daffodils, as well as snowdrops. After a snowfall, it is advisable to trample the snow around the plantings. But it's still better to get one or two cats for this!

Oriental lilies reproduce, like all their relatives, vegetatively and by seeds. The various breeding methods, as well as their many advantages and disadvantages, are widely described in the specialist literature. However, if you don’t have much time and you don’t get your hands on something completely unique, then it’s much easier to buy new bulbs in the garden center or subscribe them from the catalog, which are no longer as expensive as a few years ago. Only 3-5 plants are enough to give the flowerbed style, sophistication and some uniqueness, and most importantly - to fill your garden with the delightful scent of lilies!