The Lilies Blooming Now

First Ginger lily bloom in my garden yesterday.

First ginger lily bloom in my garden yesterday

Walking in the backyard, a familiar scent was present. I looked and found the first ginger lily cluster of blooms yesterday. Down the street I saw the first red spider lilies of the season. I think the reason they are already blooming is the rainy days we have had in the last few weeks. Regardless of the reason, they are my end of summer lilies. Ginger lily is a tough plant that I think does best in part shade because the foliage is a rich dark green in filtered shade locations. In sun they will live, but the foliage is pale green to yellowish. They are a definate pass-along plant, and in some garden centers you will see them for sale in bloom. I also have a shell ginger that is orange that will bloom later in the fall. My ginger lilies bloomed off and on until October last year, as we had the perfect fall for them.
I was delighted last year when I saw the Southern Living plant collection started selling the red spider lilies in pots. Single bulbs, which is they way they are typically purchased, are slow to bloom. The Southern Living pot I received was full of bulbs, and I expect them to bloom later in the year, probably early September. I think the reason for this late bloom time is it takes a year or so for them to become established in the garden. These bulbs bloom best when in crowded masses. Be sure and watch for the foliage that looks a bit like monkey grass coming up after they bloom. Do not cut this back, but enjoy the foliage until cold kills it in the winter.

spider lilies

Close-up of spider lily flowers

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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