Archived Story

Columnist: Have you ever heard of a lily tree?

Published 8:15am Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I have run across lily trees in several gardening magazines.

One might ask just what is a lily tree?

I, too, was wondering the very same thing ’cause I have seen quite a few bogus “scams” out there in the gardening world. I’m quite the skeptic.

We can all name one particular company – I will not mention its name – that has stung quite a few of us gardeners in the past.

It seems that a “lily tree” is not just your ordinary garden lily.

One particular company offering this “lily tree” proclaims it’s the result of many years of “magical” alterations and cultivations.

These lilies offer all the advantages of the finest hybrid lilies. To my gardening eyes they just resemble one of Jack’s magic bean stalks only in an “oriental lily” form, with massive, upward-facing, trumpets presented in six to eight unusual colors, exquisitely perfumed, also being an exceptional perennial.

Each bulb, which is carefree and easy to grow, will have at least four to five trumpet-shaped flowers the first year, totaling up to 20 to 30 after just three years!

The tree-like stems are rather stout – way larger than your average lily trunk.

Thick, sturdy stems – needing no additional support, four inches thick or better – reaching upwards at three to four feet in the first year, five to six the second year and in three years attaining six to eight feet.

Blooming in mid to late summer, in zones three to 10, thrives in sun to part shade.

Have a spot in the very back of any border, in front of walls or fences, need a little privacy screening, perfect around the patio or deck (the intense fragrance you know), perfect for fresh bouquets, pick them if you can.

The magic is this, it’s unique ability to offshoot new stems from its single huge bulb.

That’s the secret behind the magic.

Another plus is this: deer won’t bother this plant.

•••

The rose spoke of burning loves, the lily of her chaste delight; the superb
magnolia told of pure enjoyment and lofty pride; and the lovely little hepatica related the pleasure of a simple and returned existence.
— George Sand

Nancy Wiersma of Dowagiac writes a weekly column.

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