Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pink Lilies

This post is for Paula in response to her comment about not getting flowers from a plant she bought in Taiwan.

When you grow a temperate plant in the hot tropics like Singapore, often you get frustrated when the plant doesn't bloom.

When I was living on the NTU campus of Singapore, I was the unofficial secretary of the residents gardening club. Most of the members come from temperate countries and we had a discussion on this problem. I had been given many pots of lilies, and they rarely bloomed.

One day, I thought perhaps if we made a simulation of winter, the plants might bloom. So I experimented. I dug up the bulbs, removed the leaves and soil, and wrapped them in layers of newspaper. Some, I stowed in our storeroom where it was dark and dry and cool. Some, I put in the fridge. After three months, I replanted them either in the pots or directly in the ground.

It was like magic, the bulbs flowered even before they grew leaves. After this, I hibernate my lily bulbs, and I never fail to get lovely flowers of pink, dark red and orange lilies.

When I left, I either sold or gave them away. Some of my "babies" were not given the hibernation treatment. They reverted back to "Ann, your lilies don't bloom." When I went this July for a visit, this is what they told me.


Singapore plants lover said...

Ann, I have this pink lily too, it requires a lot of sunlight, flowering once a year, and I don't like the leaves. It is different from the dark red colour lily I bought in Taiwan, the one have hardy and thicker leaves, the leaves itself are pretty...
Thank you for your post.

Paula said...

By the way, I tried your matters too. In the fridge one is easier to bloom. LOL, we really have same interest in gardening.

Unknown said...

Ann, this is a fascinating post. Firstly, I have given up planting lilies.............because, they never bloom and they mati-ed before I could enjoy them. However, your 'winter' stimulation does sound very practical and creative, I might try to create the hibernation environment next time. GREAT tips :D