Evaluation of easter-lily, lilium longiflorum, as a perennial in South Florida

Joseph F. Garofalo

Abstract


The Easter-lily, Lilium longiflorum Thumb. (L.), is reported to be a perennial by South Florida gardeners, but data are lacking to support this claim. Local nurseries do not force (induce flowering) Easter-lilies, mainly because daily temperatures of 75ordm;F or higher are common during the winter production period. High temperatures are reported to reduce the number of flowers per bulb, promote uneven flowering, and delay flowering, making it difficult, if not impossible, to time the crop for Easter bloom. During December 2003, bulbs of 'Nellie White', one of the most commonly-forced cultivars, were planted. These were grown in Holland, size 7-8 inches in circumference, and were prechilled in moist sphagnum peat. Bulbs were planted in pots and grown to determine if they would flower under local conditions; no attempt was made to time them for Easter of 2004. All of the bulbs bloomed, producing an impressive display. In December 2004, new 'Nellie White' bulbs were planted, sizes 7-8 and 9-10 (inches in circumference). Data were collected on days from planting to bloom, flower count per bulb, and height. Fifty of the 2003 bulbs were evaluated for repeat bloom. Results indicate that Easter-lilies are easy to flower in South Florida as a garden crop the first year, and that many will re-bloom the second year, though performance is only fair. Protection from bulb-rotting organisms is essential. Additional research is required to determine if long-term survival is possible.

Keywords


lilium longiflorum; geophytes; bulb forcing; tropical climate; temperate bulbs

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283