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Potted Martagon Lily Care: Growing Martagon Lilies In Planters

Potted Martagon Lily Care: Growing Martagon Lilies In Planters


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By: Teo Spengler

Martagonlilies don’t look like other liliesout there. They are tall but relaxed, not stiff. Despite their elegance andold-world style, they are plants of casual grace. Although these plants areextremely cold hardy, you can still grow martagon lilies in pots if you wantto. It youwant more information about growing martagon lilies in planters or pots, readon.

Potted Martagon Lily Info

Martagon lily is also known as Turk’s cap, and thisdescribes the lovely flowers nicely.

They are smaller than Asiaticlilies, but many blossoms can grow on each stem. Although an averagemartagon lily will have between 12 and 30 lilies per stem, you’ll find somemartagon plants with up to 50 flowers on a stem. So a potted martagon lily willrequire a large, substantial container.

You often see martagon flowers in dark, rich shades, butthey don’t have to be. Martagon lilies can be yellow, pink, lavender, paleorange or deep, dark red. There is also a pure white variety. Some open into agorgeous soft yellow brown, freckled with dark purplish spots and danglingorange anthers.

If you are considering planting martagon lily in acontainer, keep the ultimate size of the plant in mind. The stems are quitetall and slender and can rise to between 3 and 6 feet (90-180 cm.) tall. Theleaves are whorled and attractive.

Care for Martagon Lilies in Pots

This lily species originated in Europe, and still can befound in the wild in France and Spain. The plants thrive in U.S. Department ofAgriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8 or 9. Only plant these bulbs inzone 9 on the north side of the house in the shade.

In fact, all martagon lilies prefer a healthy dose of shadeeach day. The ideal mix for the plants is sun in the morning and shade in theafternoon. These are the most shade-tolerant of lilies.

Like all lilies, container grown martagon lily requires soilwith excellent drainage. Rich, dense soil will rot the bulbs. So, if you areputting martagon lilies in planters or pots, be sure to use appropriately lightpotting soil.

Plant the bulbs into the well-worked soil, which should beslightly alkaline rather than acidic. It never hurts to add a little lime to thetop of the soil when you are planting.

Water as needed when the soil becomes dry to the touch. Theuse of a moisture meter is helpful or simply check with your finger (up to thefirst knuckle or about a couple inches). Water when it is dry and back off whenit’s still moist. Take care not to over water, which will lead to bulb rot, anddon’t allow the container to dry out completely.

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Martagon lilies hail originally from Europe. But they have spread far and wide since, thanks in part to their astounding beauty. Also known as Turk’s Cap lilies, owing to the way their petals curl back toward the stalk, wildflowers species in this division are found as far away as Mongolia.

Unlike most Asiatic lily species, the Martagon is shade tolerant. They’re also much less likely to be favored by deer, so you can grow them in numerous locations around the home and not fear they’re dying or being eaten. They also grow well in pots, but take care to choose a large one. Martagon stalks can reach up to six feet high.

Because they flower in mid-summer, they make excellent companions to other lilies, such as the Asiatic Luxor, which blooms in late May to early June. That allows you to have lilies during the entire growing season.

Like Asiatic lilies they are hardy. They can be grown in a variety of zones ranging from 3-6 and have the same love for well-draining soil. They sport large whorls of green leaves and a flower that hangs face-down on tiny short stems off the main stalk. That posture makes them a helpful contrast to sun-facing flowers so your garden can have even more variety with a Martagon.

That variety is enhanced by their smaller petals. Martagons offer smaller blooms than their Asiatic or Oriental cousins, making for a beautiful display in the pot, hothouse, or outdoors. Since they resemble (and, in many places, are) wildflowers they offer yet another distinctive difference that can liven up any floral display.

Beware of one aspect before selecting them, though. Martagons grown from seed take several years to produce blooms. Growing them from a shortcut (a bulb which has had its outer layers removed) can cut that time in half, but those still require about three years to flower. However, if you acquire a developed plant, they will blossom annually like any other perennial.

Once they do flower, you’ll be delighted. Purebred petals come in pink, magenta, rose, or white. Hybrids expand the range to include a variety of other colors, as well as some mottled styles.

Like other lilies they enjoy a slightly acidic soil, but unlike others they can tolerate a range much better. Anything from 5.6 (acidic) to 8.5 (alkaline) can offer a suitable growing environment for these lovely plants.


Turk's cap lily is pure delight

Crowning glory: Martagon lilies in orange. Photograph: Alamy

Crowning glory: Martagon lilies in orange. Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Thu 18 Jul 2013 12.37 BST

T he Lilium martagon were the first of my lilies to flower this year. I bought five named varieties from the RHS Autumn Show the September before I moved here and brought them with me still wrapped in their brown paper bags. They represented a new direction because they had never liked me in London and my pastures new promised a long-awaited ambition to see them naturalising.

I first saw this European Turk's cap in flower at Sissinghurst, growing in an unusually informal part of the garden where they were running wild among Astrantia. On my first mountain trip, aged 19, I saw the same combination on the slopes of a nut wood in the Pyrenees – the lily a sombre mauve-pink, the bright Astrantia running around underneath in the dappled shade.

The Martagon hybrids are a beautiful development in plant selection and three summers on I am pleased I was as eager to fill those paper bags with bulbs. None of the varieties I chose have the mauve of the parent. "Slate's Select", with its base of soft orange and flecking of maroon is typical of the rust and marmalade tones that prevail in the selection, while the plum red of "Arabian Knight" and the mahogany "Claude Shride" illustrate how sumptuously beautiful they can be as dark varieties. Plump buds reveal something of their colouration, springing open to curl back on themselves and reveal why they are called the Turk's caps. All have a brilliant flash of orange pollen – which is lethal to cats and dogs.

I have had a long-standing love affair with lilies that runs back to the Lilium auratum my father grew by our outside lavatory. It towered over me as a child, with buds that lengthened and eventually ruptured towards the end of the summer holidays. I was rather horrified to be offered the roasted bulbs of the Golden Rayed Lily of Japan (L auratum) on a trip to Hokkaido, but with contrasting delight it has been a pleasure to plant them there by the hundred.

The Golden Rayed Lily of Japan. Photograph: Alamy

It is rare to find them here on sale today as nurserymen's stock has been ravaged by virus, but I have a few plants that I am growing on from hand-picked seed in Japan. Teetering on lofty stems, a single bulb can support five or six flowers, a remarkable feat as each flower is wider than an out-stretched hand.

Not all lilies are successful in the ground and many will dwindle after three or four years. Ground slugs and winter wet are the problem, but a freely drained position and the contradiction of providing moisture in summer are a key to success. Always plant the bulbs in a layer of sharp grit for drainage, and incorporate leafmould rather than compost to remind them of their woodland origins. The alternative, of course, is to grow them in pots, which can be lifted into the comparative dryness of a leeward wall in the winter and out of sight when the flowers are over.

The perfume of specialist lily grower HW Hyde and Son's stand at Chelsea is almost too much and reminds me of being trapped on the tube in morning rush hour, but, caught on a breeze, the scent of a lily is an incredible thing. Lilium regale is at the tail end of its flowering now, but this Chinese species has spawned a series of trumpeted hybrids which extend the season into July. "African Queen", with apricot flowers and a puce reverse, "Golden Splendour" and "Pink Perfection" all make incredible pot plants.

"Kushi Maya" is a hybrid of the stoloniferous Lilium nepalense – a species I coveted when I was working in the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens years ago. Long trumpets retain an eerie green-white, but within they hold a mysterious dark interior that appears to have been dusted in charcoal. The flowers of "Kushi Maya" stop people in their tracks when they come upon them: first the perfume and then the marvel that anything quite so exotic can grace an English garden.


Watch the video: Martagon lily lilium in our garden, made by my wife