Vermont Garden Journal: Lillies
It's the symbol of nobility, fertility, virtue and purity. Some believe these flowers will even ward off ghosts and evil spirits. What common perennial is it? It's the lily.
While we all know Easter lilies, there are other types that are easier to grow. The first to bloom is the Asiatic lilies with their bright red, pink, yellow and orange colored flowers. They grow 30 inches tall and new varieties, called the 'LA Hybrids', have an Easter lily like fragrance. For tough lilies try the Turk's cap and Tiger lilies. These are hardy to zone 3 and grow 4 feet tall with clusters of colorful flowers. Finally, the last to bloom are the Oriental lilies. These pastel colored beauties grow only a few feet tall, but will knock your socks off with their fragrance. The Orienpets are a cross between the Oriental and Trumpet lilies producing a fragrant flower with bold colors.
Plant lily bulbs now or in the fall in well-drained, fertile soil. Amend poorly drained soils heavily with compost. Tall growing Trumpet and Tiger lilies may need staking in windy areas. The main pest of bulbing lilies is the red lily leaf beetle. This red beetle emerges in spring to feed on the leaves. It then lays eggs on the leaf undersides that hatch into black, slug-like larvae that love to eat. They particular like the Asiatic lily varieties. Luckily, there are some controls. Try growing more resistant varieties such as 'Madame Butterfly' and 'Black Beauty'. In spring, hand pick adults, spread diatomaceous earth around emerging bulb shoots to repel them and check under the leaves for the red egg masses and crush them. Hand squish any black larvae that survive as well and spray Spinosad organic insecticidal on the plants in the evening when honeybees are less active.
And now for this week's tip, sprinkle one cup of dried coffee grounds around your roses now to help them grow and flower better. Spread another cup in about one month.
Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about apple pests. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.
Broadcast on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 5:57 p.m. and Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 9:35 a.m.
The Vermont Garden Journal with Charlie Nardozzi is made possible by Gardener's Supply, offering environmental solutions for gardens and landscapes. In Burlington, Williston and Gardeners.com.