In the last decade, new varieties of very tall lilies, called tree-lily, have appeared in garden stores. Since then, disputes about this plant have not subsided: some call it a myth, others recommend it as a new original hybrid variety. Let us try to understand what the lilies-trees are, planting and caring for which interest not only florists, but also all gardeners.
What does a tree look like?
Although many distrustful gardeners believe that a lily is still a flower, a tree with such a name exists and amazes with its size and beauty of flowers. With proper care, it can become taller than its owners (some specimens reach a height of 2.5 m). And its flowers have a large gamut and fireworks of shades, and some resemble the size and shape of children’s panama girls. On one plant can be up to 20 flowers tubular shape, similar to a turban or cup.
Such a huge plant exudes a gentle and lasting aroma, which, combined with external beauty, gives it not only an exotic, but also an aristocratic look.
Trees such plants are called only conditionally for their tall (up to 2.5 m), and in fact they are varieties of very large and tall flowers, bred not only by natural means, but also with the help of plant breeders who grow with the active feeding of gardeners on the plots.
Those varieties that are now sold in stores are lilies-trees, varieties of which are of two types:
- species of lilies (or cardiocrinum), growing in nature in the wild;
- FROM hybrids, which are obtained by biologists by crossing tubular and eastern varieties of lilies.
These types of lilies are completely different in terms of growing conditions, requirements for soil and agricultural technology. They slowly multiply and bloom only 2-3 years after planting.
This plant in science is called cardiocrinum (“heart-shaped lily” – Greek), the name was given to it by the shape of the leaves. In the world there are only 4 species of such plants growing on Sakhalin Island, the Japanese Islands, in the Himalayas and in China.
Cardiocrinum is an onion plant (white bulb in the shape of a cone), its stems are hollow inside, have a diameter of 5 cm near the ground.
The leaves, similar in shape to hearts, are with mesh venation, alternate, attached to the stalk by long petioles. Flowers, most often white or pale green, tubular, usually deflected horizontally or appear drooping, are located on short pedicels.
Cardiocrinum blooms only for 4-5 years after planting in very large flowers, after which the bulb dies off, forming small children, which are suitable for subsequent reproduction.
On gardening plots, only 2 varieties of lily trees are grown in the open ground: giant and Chinese. Lily-tree, the photo of which is presented in the article, is impressive even for experienced gardeners.
Cardiocrinum gigantic at home (in the Himalayas) grows on mountain slopes and has a height of up to 3 m. Usually blooms in August, the inflorescences have up to 20 large greenish flowers, each up to 15 cm long, emitting a very pleasant smell.
Chinese Cardiocrinum grows at home in the mountains near the rivers and in the forests of the Center and East of China. Plant height reaches 1.5 m with leaves located at the top of the stems. Flowers are only up to 5 pieces in size about 10 cm, pale green in color with small red spots on the top.
How to plant and care
Cardiocrinum prefers very warm fertile places, located a little in the shade (does not like direct sunlight). In order for such lilies-trees, planting and caring for which will require some experience from gardeners, it is necessary to carefully prepare the soil before planting: make drainage (the bulb can rot because of high humidity), add leafy ground. The optimal landing time – the beginning of autumn.
The hole is made large, 60 cm in size, by adding sand and soil. When planting, the tip of the bulb should peek out of the soil. The distance between adjacent bulbs – not less than 1 m.
For the winter period, a special air shelter is constructed from the twigs, covering the whole plant. This shelter should not be removed in the spring immediately, but you need to wait until the spring frosts pass (at this time, sprinkle with snow). After opening the plant must be protected from the sun.
It is important that the tree develops correctly. Lilies do not require specific care, you need a few supplements with the help of complex mineral (spring) and organic fertilizers (summer). To reduce the acidity of the soil is recommended to make wood ash (the plant does not like acidic soil) or add bone meal.
Water cardiocrinum should be 1-2 times a week (in rainy weather less often). When watering, you can add growth promoters directly to the water. Tall stems need support so that the plant does not fall and is not broken by the wind or its weight. Every winter the lily tree should be pruned and sheltered from frost and cold.
For reproduction, the daughter buds should be separated from the dead and dried mother-bulbs in time (and better before their germination and the appearance of young roots). If the children in the beam are left to spend the winter in the ground, then they most often die from the cold.
Also, cardiocrinum can be propagated with the help of seeds, which are usually harvested in the spring before the beginning of the growing season, and then sown in the prepared soil.
OT hybrids – what is it?
Another breeding variety of giant lilies was created by scientists in Canada, who bred the lily-trees – hybrids of OT class. In scientific circles they were given the name Oriental X – tubular. These lilies make an indelible impression with their beauty and unusual.
The first offer for the sale of lily-trees appeared in Holland in the catalog of flowers, in which trees with a height of up to 2.5 m with an unimaginable number of flowers (50-60) were promised to customers. Since then, discussions of the reality of the existence of such plants occur regularly in scientific circles and in the expanses of the worldwide network.
Then the question of the legitimacy of the name “trees” remained open. Already in 2009, one of the Canadian firms registered the Lily Tree trademark, and this name was assigned to them.
Another name given to such lilies by foreign breeders – Goliath – is due, of course, to their size. In recent years, these mighty beauties, with the help of experienced gardeners, began to be grown in the middle latitudes of Russia. However, to get flowers on such a miracle tree, you need to wait 2-3 years.
Over the past few years, many varieties of hybrid plants have been developed. Lily-tree, the photo of which you can see in the article, may have different degrees of frost resistance. Also different may be the height of the stem, flower color, duration of flowering, the requirements for care.
Lily-tree – varieties (photo and colors):
- Aventino (pink with a yellow star);
- Anastasia (pink-crimson with white border flowers, very tall stem);
- Big Brother (vanilla yellow flowers);
- Donato (hot pink);
- Carboner (dark cherry or red with a yellow middle);
- Corsini (pink with yellow-green middle);
- Gold Class (yellow-red with specks);
- Holland Beauty (raspberry with cream border);
- Honeymoon (yellow honey);
- Miss Patchwork (dark maroon with dabs of chocolate color in the middle and white border);
- Holland Beauty (raspberry with cream edging);
- Mr. Jobe (brown-maroon with a green asterisk in the middle and a cream stripe along the edge);
- Pionon Moon (cream with purple in the middle and yellow coating);
- Pret Vumen (white);
- Pearl Prince (claret-purple);
- Robin (crimson with white center);
- Zelmir (salmon) and many others.
The highest grades: Friso, Donato, Anastasia, Robin.
Very popular now are varieties such as Purple Prince, the lily-tree, Pret Vumen, and the planting and care of which require more attention than low varieties.
First of all, you need to clarify that such hybrids do not reach their maximum growth and flowering before 3 years of age: in the first year such a lily grows by about 30 cm, in the second – by 50-60 cm, and only in the third its height reaches not less than 1.5 meters. Bloom all hybrid varieties for 2-3 years.
The most popular variety now is the Preti Vumen lily-tree, in which the flowers (25 cm in diameter) have a soft creamy white shade with a slight pink tint; after the end of flowering, the buds become completely white.
Such a lily is obtained by crossing oriental and tubular lilies. In the inflorescence usually has up to 30 flowers funnel-shaped or cupped, with a pleasant aroma. Flowers, as a rule, are directed upwards or slightly to the side, there are several shades of color: yellowish, pink, light orange and multicolor. Flowering time is the second half of summer.
The stem of such a lily tree is strong and durable, up to 180 cm high, and under very favorable conditions the plants can grow up to 2.5 m in 3 years. This variety has good winter hardiness and increased disease resistance.
Also such a popular variety as the lily-tree “Honeymoon”, featuring a high winter hardiness (does not freeze even during hard frosts down to -35 ° C), is also very popular. The tree grows up to 2 meters and is capable of releasing more than 18 beautiful buds, which then bloom in an unusual moon-honey color (with a darker center) with a rich aroma.
Lily-trees: planting and care
Such plants have some specific features of agrotechnics when landing in the ground, during the period of growth and flowering. Some varieties love acidic soil, some – alkaline.
Consider as an example such a now popular hybrid variety as the Prti Vumen lily-tree, which is planted and cared for similarly to other plants of OT-hybrids.
For such a lily tree, the soil is needed slightly acidic, with a high content of fertilizers (but not fresh organic matter). This plant does not like the close location of groundwater, so the best place where a lily (tree) can be planted is to plant on raised little beds, provided with good drainage. For drainage use crushed stone and river sand, poured in a layer up to 20 cm.
It is better to place the planting of lilies in slightly shaded places, for example, located under the canopy of fruit trees, giving a diffused shadow.
The time of growth and flowering of such lily trees is 4-5 years, because in the 5th year the bulb is depleted, which leads to a decrease in the growth of the peduncle, a decrease in the number of buds, possible diseases and even death of the tree.
Planting of bulbs is carried out either at the beginning of autumn, or in April-May. The soil is prepared in advance, when planting the bulbs under its bottom and around the sand sprinkled, planting depth – 15-20 cm from the roots to the surface. After that, the soil must be mulched.
Watering lilies should be done 1-2 times a week all summer, and especially during the flowering period. For these plants it is very important to do top dressing, especially when forming buds. The last dressing of the season should be carried out until mid-August with a predominance of potash fertilizers, which will help the bulb to recover faster after flowering.
And so, a cold autumn has come, a lily (tree) planted in spring has grown over the summer. “How do they winter?” – this question is most often asked by gardeners when preparing the plant for winter frosts. Although there are varieties with increased cold resistance, it is necessary to carry out the insulation of lily trees.
In late autumn, the trunk of the plant is cut, plantings are warmed using dry mulching and covered for the winter with a layer of 5-10 cm (for example, rotted compost or pine litter). This helps the remaining bulbs in the ground not to get sick and survive the winter frosts.
In the spring, such a shelter becomes mulch, saving first from frost, and then serves to maintain soil moisture. It is very important in the spring not to loosen the place of planting of the lily tree, because it gives a lot of shoots that can be broken.
Reproduction of lily trees
Garden lilies are usually propagated with the help of seeds, babies, cuttings and bulbs.
Liliaceans (for example, the lily-tree of Pret Vumen) are most often propagated with the help of bulbs, although the number and rate of their growth in hybrid varieties are small. The breeding process is rather laborious and slow, because the bulbs are very sensitive to moisture and can deteriorate in the autumn.
In addition, babies can be obtained only a few years later, when the plant begins to bloom in full force. The oldest tree (4-5 years old) forms a whole nest with bulbs suitable for planting.
Also, lily trees can be propagated with the help of seeds that are in the boxes at the top of the stems (late autumn). Before the onset of cold weather, they are cut off (along with part of the stem) and placed in a warm place for ripening. It is better to do the sowing of ripened seeds immediately due to the high probability of their losing germination.
Lily pyramids exist?
Pyramids or spray lilies do not exist in nature, despite assurances from some private sellers or firms selling various flower varieties. The number of buds on such pyramids is advertised for more than 40 pieces, which is completely unrealistic.
The explanation for this may be the phenomenon of fasciation, when there is an accidental splicing of several stems at once for some reason:
- adverse conditions or failure during the growth of the plant, when damage to the bulb or shoots is possible;
- bacterial infection, effects of pesticides or radiation;
- excessive use of bioregulators and growth stimulants or mineral fertilizers;
- mutations associated with changes in temperature or lighting and humidity.
In this case, the curvature or deformation of the shoots becoming flatter is possible. There are some varieties of lilies (for example, Marlene) that are prone to fasciation.
Variety Marlene belongs to the species of Asian hybrid lilies, the advantage of which are winter hardiness, previously flowering, very strong spine formation. The height of the stem – up to 1 m. The flowers are quite large, pink at the ends and white in the middle. The flowering period lasts up to 2 months. One of the unusual differences is that they have absolutely no smell.
Lilies varieties Marlene with the phenomenon of fascia peduncle can form from 40 to 100 flowers. But this phenomenon is completely spontaneous and is not regulated by man. This is also explained by the ability of plants to release several shoots from a single bulb, which can grow together under the influence of fasciation, forming a single thick peduncle.
Although the advertised bush and pyramidal species of lilies do not exist, it is the Marlene variety that is not issued for. This type of hybrid lily itself is worth separate words of admiration.
Lilies-trees in the design of the garden plot
Lilies-trees, planting and caring for which are quite simple, suitable for decorating any garden plot. Many cultivated hybrid varieties have a wide variety of colors and are perfectly adapted to grow between fruit trees in the garden or around the house.
When creating flowerbeds with such tall plants, it is necessary to calculate in advance the possibility of planting other flower plants and arrange them between lilies (different types of asters, delphiniums, gladioli or chamomile will do).
On the edge of such a flower bed you can plant onion varieties of tulips, crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths. As a background, stunted species of marigolds, garden carnations, perennial iberis and others are planted.
As neighbors for lilies fit juniper, thuja, cypress or ferns. Using the planting of several varieties of lilies at once, you can pick them up at the time of flowering to ensure long alternate flowering of plants.
In our country, such a plant is engaged in a small number of amateur gardeners. Many are either not familiar with these kinds of flowers, or do not trust sites that advertise a lily-tree. Reviews of those professionals who have acquired lily trees, were able to grow them and wait for flowering (3 years of waiting – still a considerable time) indicate the extraordinary beauty of such flower trees and the originality of their size.