Prepare lily bulbs now to enjoy fragrant blooms in about 10 weeks.
Plant summer-flowering bulbs now.
SUMMER BULBS are the forgotten little sisters of the better-known spring collection of daffodils, tulips and bluebells. But these beautiful and vigorous plants are well suited to our hot, dry Aussie summers, as many hail from warm climates such as South Africa. And the lily is one of the best: it’s stunning, has a luscious scent and long life as a cut bloom. Summer and autumn flowering varieties include the gloriosa or flame lily, the red vallota or fire lily and the drought-tolerant crinum lily. For maximum effect, plant bulbs in groups in a pretty container, which can be brought inside as they flower.
YOU WILL NEED glazed pot or container, at least 10cm deep; Yates Thrive Premium Potting Mix, about $6 for 6 litres, from hardware stores and supermarkets; bulbs, about $8 for pack of 3 (we planted white Orientals and pink Casablancas), from nurseries and online garden suppliers; sphagnum moss block, $10.50 for 150g, from Bunnings
ONE Fill your container with potting mix that’s rich in slow-release fertiliser and organic matter.
TWO Press bulbs into pot, about 8cm deep (or twice the height of the bulb). The pointy end (with any shoots) should be pointing up and any roots pointing down.
THREE Mulch with sphagnum moss to keep soil moist and improve the look of the container. New shoots of emerging bulbs will easily penetrate the moss. Water once, wait for any growth to appear, then resume watering.
TIPS After flowering, let the foliage yellow and die down as the energy returns to the bulb. Lily bulbs need to be stored carefully as they don’t have a tough outer skin like some bulbs. Store in brown paper bags in a cool, dark and dry place.
Tough love These beauties will thrive in the heat.