Another refinement of culture is to cover each Lily bulb, in each pot, with a small inverted flower-pot before covering with cinder-ash or fibre. This prevents their being pressed on by the damp material, and facilitates examination when growth is searched for.
Other Lilies than Lilium Harrisii should be altogether dried off by degrees, after they have bloomed and the foliage has yellowed, or the flower spike died down; except, perhaps, the Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum), which should be potted in August or September, and kept out of doors, or in pits without heat, until winter threatens, when it may inhabit a cool greenhouse immediately beneath a ventilator of the roof. It is possible to hasten this familiar Lily a very little, when bud spikes arise. Its bulbs, after flowering, I plunge in their pots beside the other Madonna Lilies in the garden.
Lilium Harrisii, by the by, can be grown in china undrained pots of moss-fibre and sea-shell, and flowered in seven months.
The beautiful Lilium auratum does best, with me, when not bought until January or February, and potted then. But my own bulbs I have preferred to pot in October.
Another cultural method, pursued by some successful growers, is to repot Liliums immediately after the foliage has 'failed' after flowering. The flower stem is cut away, of course, and the ball of soil is removed without being broken. This suits Lilium auratum especially well.
For a description of many beautiful Lilies, Chapter VII (Hardy Lilies, The Galtonia And Hardy Gladioli) should be consulted.
Some species and varieties most charming for pots may be mentioned here, however.
Orange, black-spotted. 20 inches tall.
Crimson, spotted maroon. 1 1/2 feet.
A substitute for the white Harrisii.
White, with gold band down each petal. No spots. 4 feet.
Yellow, fading to cream, brown reverse to petals. 3 feet. Perfumed.
Erect scarlet and orange flowers, spotted with crimson. 1 1/2 feet.
Orange-scarlet, spotted with maroon-crimson. 6 feet.
Rich crimson, spotted sepia. 2 feet.
Scarlet and orange. 2 feet.
Scarlet. Slender stemmed. 1 1/2 feet.
Yellow and brown, spotted crimson. Of uncommon appearance. 3 1/2 feet.
Pale pink, with gold anthers. A dainty little Lily, that will force. 1 1/2 feet.
Crimson, with white, and spotted purple. 3 feet.
Liliums Longiflorum Formosum And Longiflorum Formosum eximium may be grown three bulbs in a sixinch pot if desired. So may Lilies of small bulbs, but for the others of normal size, culture as for Lilium Harrisii in this respect should be followed, while Giant specimens can be given a seven-inch pot, or tub, each.
The Greenhouse Crinums are grand flowers to specialize in; most are pure white, but some are red and purplish, and the average height is 2 feet. I prefer to put three bulbs in a ten-inch pot, in March, the tops of the bulbs not covered, using a compost of three parts loam to one of peat, and mixing a heaped teaspoonful of bone meal, and about half a pint of fine silver sand with every pot's portion. A temperature of 6o° will suffice, but Crinums can endure far more if there is ample air as well, and plenty of light and moisture. It is well to lay damped coco-nut-fibre over the tops of the bulbs till growth begins. Give liquid manures only when the pots are filled with roots. The old practice of drying off the plants after flowering is now frequently exchanged for the custom of lessening the water supply, then almost stopping it, and exposing the plants - especially the sides of the pots - to all the sun heat obtainable, in an even hotter part of the glass-house than that occupied for blossoming. Crinum Powellii, pale rose, or C. Powellii album, white, are half-hardy, so can be grown in pots for a cold conservatory.
Attention must be directed towards the Blood-flower, or H‘man-thus, because the scarlet and crimsons are of intense merit in a glass-house when grouped round Crinums and Liliums for contrast. The heights are from 9 inches to 1 foot only. On securing bulbs, which may well be bought in mixture of greenhouse species, plant three in a five-inch pot, filled with a compost of one part peat, half parts of sand, and decayed horse manure, to two parts of loam, leaving half each bulb above soil, then laying dry leaf-mould lightly over as a covering. Stand in temperature of 55° to 65°, out of sunshine till the plants are growing fast, then in it. August is the best planting month, but some bulbs can be kept a little later. Water slightly at first, then more fully; withhold water after flowers are over, and keep dry, but in shade, when the foliage has yellowed. Feed with the usual weak liquid manures while in bloom.
Lilies are beautiful ornaments for standing on terrace walks, or by steps, and pots of them look well sunk in large baskets, their rims hidden by layers of baked moss. There could be no fairer additions to town balconies.