What a difference two years can make! Back in spring 2012, I planted five Tree Lily ‘Pink Explosion’ bulbs deep into a large, glazed patio pot filled with a 50/50 mix of multi-purpose and loam-based compost. I then stood back expecting big things.
Big things I got! Come mid-summer, thick 4ft stems were graced with lush foliage (free from lily beetle), each holding at least 6 flower buds. They soon burst open to offer huge vibrant flowers that filled the garden with that unmistakable heady scent that lilies are renowned for. A gorgeous display that only needed regular watering, and a high potash liquid feed as the buds developed. As you can see from the picture below, my daughter – two years old at the time, was the perfect height for a gorgeous photo opportunity.
After removing dead flowers, I left the stems to die back naturally, drawing energy back into the bulbs. Late autumn these were cut right down and the pot was left to face winter outdoors.
Late spring 2013 – I top-dressed the pot with manure pellets and started watering in dry spells. That summer the flowers were on 6-7ft stems. The only other upkeep was a liquid feed as buds showed (up to 10 per stem). Again, no sign of lily beetle.
The following picture shows the amazing display this year. They have certainly outgrown my daughter! Nearly 8ft tall with 13 to 16 flowers on each stem. Look how they have multiplied in the pot, with young stems joining in too. I did notice beetle damage on a few leaves this season, but in three years I’ve spotted just one beetle on these plants.
With two young children to keep occupied, time working in my garden is precious, and I need plants that will perform with minimum input. Tree Lily ‘Pink Explosion’ fits the bill perfectly. Three years of strong garden performance all for the effort of a spring top dressing, a liquid summer feed, 15 minutes removing dead flowers and 10 minutes of cutting back. They even support themselves, so no staking needed! What more could you ask for?
Kris Collins works as Thompson & Morgan’s quality control manager, making sure customers new and old are kept up to date on the latest plant developments and company news via a wide range of media sources. He trained in London’s Royal Parks and has spent more than a decade writing for UK gardening publications before joining the team at Thompson & Morgan.