Friday, August 3, 2012

Flat Lily Stem with a hundred flowers... What's up?

Photo by customer G.P. (Brier, WA)

What a shocker - look at the number of buds! 

A lily which was "normal" during the last bloom could have four times (or more) the number of flowers on a strange looking flat stem in a given year.  No, it's not a mutant, just the product of a set of circumstances that only happens perhaps to one in ten thousand lily bulbs in a given year.

Theory is, the plant may have been in the process of dividing into 2 separate bulbs but just the right conditions - usually stressful weather (too hot or too cold) - may trigger this phenomenon.  The closely spaced flowers will generally all open, even so tightly packed together but chances are that next summer this lily will once again be a normal stem.

Photo by customer G.P. (Brier, WA)

See the little bulblets with tiny stems emerging from the base of the lily?  Don't "weed" them out because in two to three more years they will be blooming size.  Grown to maturity, there is no guarantee that they will also exhibit this flat-stemmed curiosity in a given year, but who can turn down "free bulbs"?