This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
These magnificent Lilies, although for many years in cultivation in this country, are still scarce. The high prices - one, two, and three dollars apiece - at which they have been held, as well as the doubt that existed respecting their fitness for open garden culture, have combined in retarding their dissemination, and confined them to a few of the better class of gardens and greenhouses. Now that prices are reasonable and within the reach of persons of moderate means, and as they have proved perfectly hardy, and as easily grown as the common white Lily, we may expect to see them become really popular. They are the very few in this country who will pay two, or three, or five dollars, for a single bulb or a single plant, or who indulge in the luxury of greenhouses and conservatories; but when we can offer a really superb plant, hardy and easily grown, at a moderate price, it finds purchasers and planters by the thousand and the ten thousand.
The Lily has always been a special favorite, and is now. Where can we find a garden without its Lilies ? They are all beautiful; and some of those now very common and little thought of - for instance, the Tiger Lily (Lilium tigrinum), or our native Superb Lily (L. superbum) - would, if seen for the first time, be pronounced magnificent. These Japan Lilies, however, combine the most brilliant colors with a delicious perfume; and this gives them a pre-eminence among the Lily tribe. The Crimson Lance-leaved Japan Lily (L. lancifolium rubrum) has a ground color of rosy-crimson, shading off to white at the edge, and having projecting dots of bright crimson. The White Lance-leaved Japan Lily (L. lancifolium album) is pure white, covered with colorless projecting points. The Spotted Lance-leaved Lily (L. lancifolium punctatum) is white, with rosy dots. This grows stronger and taller than the others, and blooms earlier, we believe, as a general thing. The height to which the flower-stalks attain varies from two to four feet, according to the strength of bulbs and fitness of soil, culture, etc.
They have seeded freely in this country, and large quantities of seedlings have been raised; but nothing new or distinct, that we are aware of, has been obtained.
LILIUM LANCIFOLIUM SPECIOSUM.
In the open ground we have succeeded well with them in a soil prepared just as for other bulbs - deep, with a liberal proportion of sand and abundance of old hot-bed manure well worked in. Plant either in fall, or early in spring, before they begin to grow. The bulbs should be set about two and a half to three inches deep, as the stem emits roots that greatly increase the vigor and flowering capacity of the bulb. Keep the ground clean and frequently stirred during the season; and when the flowers-begin to appear, apply liquid manure freely, especially if the season be dry, as it often is in the autumn when these Lilies bloom. Before winter sets in, cover the bed with a good coat of leaves.
On pot-culture we extract the following very full and plain instructions from the London Gardener's Chronicle of November, 1853:
"Let us begin with the bulbs in the condition in which they are usually found in the beginning of November, when they have done flowering. Some of mine have just gone out of flower; others are well ripened, and ready for repotting. But as their treatment after flowering is of great importance, we will suppose they have just dropt their blossoms-Remove them to a rather warm situation, and as dry as you can command, and give them little or no more water. I generally water lightly two or three times after my plants are placed in circumstances to ripen. A warm greenhouse or pit, kept rather close, if not moist, will effect this important desideratum perfectly. As soon as the bulbs are sufficiently matured, which will be known by the decay of the leaves and stems, they had better be repotted; not that this is of importance at present, but it will economise space, and prevent the operation being neglected until after they have made fresh roots. The soil in which they have been growing ought to be entirely removed from the bulbs, and the latter divided as may be thought proper, for there will always be found about the crown of the parent some small bulbs, which may be placed in 4-inch pots.
If the ripening process has been complete, the roots will not be troublesome, but if not there will be found a quantity of fresh roots remaining. When such is the case I leave them to themselves for some time longer, for I never pot while I require to out or break the stronger roots, but merely strip my fingers through them in order to remove those that are decayed. The pots should be just sufficiently large to receive the bulb and strong roots adhering to it; give a moderate watering to settle the soil, and place them in the greenhouse or cool pit. They will require no further attention until the season begins to excite vegetation, when they must be regularly attended to. Water as soon as you see signs of growth, but sparingly until they have made leaves, etc., to draw up and give off moisture. March will generally be found to be the time when they will commence growth. As soon as they are above the soil, remove them to a situation where they will be near the glass and have plenty of air, for after success depends upon getting them strong at this stage. Do not allow them to remain in the small pots in which they were wintered until their roots become matted; the best way of managing this is occasionally to examine them.
I always shift into the flowering-pots just as the plants have protruded an abundance of fresh roots against the sides of the pots. For strong bulbs with one stem use 12-inch pots, and for such as produce two stems a size larger. Weaker bulbs, such as produce about seven flowers, will not require pots above 8 inches, and offsets of the first year will not require above 5-inch pots. In shifting into the flowering-pots, be careful to place the crown of the bulbs about 8 inches below the surface of the soil, as they produce a quantity of strong roots from the base of the stem. They a strong bloom. As regards watering, they most have a careful supply, neither too much nor too little; but if they can be sprinkled overhead with the syringe before shutting up the house, they will not require much water at the roots for some time. Towards the end of May, if the weather is favorable, they may be placed in a warm sheltered spot out of doors, and ought to have their stems tied to a stake, in order to prevent their being injured by wind.