As a child, I remember Mom pointing out ‘tiger lilies’ in the ditches when we were driving to Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. I later discovered that they were more properly called Western Red Lilies – the floral emblem of Saskatchewan. I don’t recall seeing them from then until we moved to the acreage in 2008 – that summer, I noticed them in some of the ditches around here, and I was really delighted by that! Mom really hammered it into my head that the lilies were endangered, and should never be picked or dug up, so I’ve just been enjoying them as I drive by for the last several years.
However, when I was doing research on native plant sources for a pollenator garden, I came across an actual seed source for these lilies – Blazing Star Wildflower Seed Company out of Aberdeen, Saskatchewan. I had no idea you could grow Western Red Lilies from seed – I thought they propegated via bulbs…which they do, but you can grow them from seed as well. Of course, as soon as I saw them, I had to have them.
I read the packet instructions when they arrived. The directions called for starting the seeds in a baggie of damp vermiculite, and noted that the seeds could take up to four weeks to germinate. Once they had sprouted, the directions called for transplanting them into pots to grow until they could go out into the garden.
The whole packet of seeds were dumped into a plastic baggie of damp verimculite on March 13th, when I started the asparagus. I set them in a warm-ish spot on a bookshelf, out of direct sun. The lily seeds actually did take over three weeks to germinate, and on April 7th, I picked the teeny little sprouts out of the (overly sticky) vermiculite, and transplanted them into peat pots to grow for a while before they go outside. Given that it was still snowing last week, they should have some time to grow. I got 14 little lily sprouts, which is not bad, but if these work out okay, I’ll order several more seed packets for next year.
I am really excited about these little plants – if I can grow them out to a decent size in my flowerbed without too much trouble, I’ll start transplanting them in the ditches along my lane, so the pollenators (and I) can have even more of them to enjoy!
Did you end up getting any Lily blooms?
We didn’t, actually. The plants grew fine while they were in the house, but when we planted them out in the garden, they quickly got choked out, and couldn’t compete at all with even tiny weeds – they grew so slowly! It was a difficult gardening year anyhow, but I think these lilies need a lot of babying to grow them from seed. Next time, we will grow them in containers until they are big and strong – probably for a couple of years – before planting out.