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A Basic Guide to
The propagation of lilies falls into two basic parts
vegatative and seed. Vegetative propagation for
the amateur is in three main areas.

1. Stem bulbils

2. Bulblets

3. Scaling

There are other areas such as micropropagation
where-by lily bulbs scales are cut
into many small cubes and individually placed in
test tubes on an agar [growing medium] to
develop into larger lily bulbs. This requires strict
sterile conditions only suitable for the laboratory.
All these vegetative methods of propagation
produce material that is identical to the parent lily
bulb. This includes any defects and diseases eg.

there are currently available from
commercial sources lily bulbs that have been
raised using these methods, probably originating
in Holland. So whilst providing good garden
plants in all probability they will not cross with
each other. They will probably cross with a
different type of lily which would of course create
a hybrid. However, If one wishes to cross these
micro-propagated bulbs one may have to try two
different sources so that with a bit of luck you
acquire material from different micro-propagated
batches. I did exactly that when in 2010 I
acquired some bulbs of L.
parryi. I knew these
to be micro-propagated and unlikely to produce
seed. So I acquired some bulbs from another
source and used the pollen from the first
purchase on the flowers of the second purchase.
This did the trick.

1. Stem bulbils.
These are probably the easiest method of
increasing your lilies. Stem
bulbils form in the
axil where a leaf joins the main stem, some will
even develop roots while still attached to the
parent plant. These
bulbils can be carefully
removed and potted up to grow into mature
bulbs. L.
lancifolium, [tigrinum.], L. sargentiae
and L. sulphureum are three species lilies that
produce stem

These are small bulbs produced on or below the
surface of the ground on the parent plant. They
are usually larger than stem bulbils and usually
have roots from a small size. More care is
required when removing these but they can be
potted on to grow to maturity.

This involves carefully removing a scale from the
parent bulb and attempting to break it off as near
as possible to the base plate of the bulb. The
scales are then placed in a plastic bag. A
common sandwich bag is ideal for this purpose.
The plastic is very thin and it does permit the
passage of some air. A handful of vermiculite is
placed in the bag and very slightly moistenedbut
not wet! The scales are then placed in the
vermiculite. It is advisable to lightly dust the
scales with a fungicide before placing in the bag.
The bag can then be sealed and placed in an
airing cupboard. Keep a regular check on the
scales and hopefully you will see small white
bulbs forming along the bottom edge where the
scale was broken off from the base plate. When
they develop into a hand-able size they can be
potted up.

Good Lily Growing
Harris Howland