Pre­pare lily bulbs now to en­joy fra­grant blooms in about 10 weeks.

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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.




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