I added the Formosan lily (formerly known as Formosa lily) L. formosanum late last summer at the fall plant sale at the Lewis Ginter botanical garden. As I walked up I could smell the lovely fragrance and stood there inhaling the intoxicating aroma fragrance of the white trumpet flower. I was in heaven. I thought it was an Easter Lily at first because of the beautiful fragrant white trumpet flower atop the tall stem. The grower told me it was grown from seed this spring and they are easy to grow and love moist but not wet soil in full sun or partial shade here in zone 7.
I knew nothing of the Formosa lily and had to go home and read more about it. I discovered it is native the island of Formosa in Taiwan and it is almost extinct there now! There is contradictory information about the zones with some sources I read say 5-8 and others 6b-9. The Formosan lily blooms late summer and grows upward to 7 feet tall in the south where the growing season is longer. In colder climates of zones 5 and 6 it will bloom early autumn and I highly suggest planting it in full sun. In the colder zones this is a short lived perennial (or biennial) and so you may want to dig the bulbs up and try to store them in a colder garage or shed where they will not freeze below 10 degrees and plant them early spring. Or let them reseed and see what happens. Either way, only good things come out of letting nature fill your garden with blooms.
The Formosa lily is also known as the August lily and spreads by seed or bulbs which need the cold weather of winter in zones 7 & 8 to go dormant and rest. Anyone in zones 9 and up will need to dig up the Formosa lily bulbs and store them in the refrigerator to mimic winter’s cooler weather. I have collected seeds for 2 years now and in my new garden I will sow a backdrop of these fragrant beauties behind all my coneflowers, sedum, and black eyed susans.
This is a great cut flower and it is recommended not too cut too much off the stem because the stems are needed to make food for the bulbs the following year. I never cut down my lily stems and let them die back naturally and let nature do her work. This can be a prolific reseeder in the garden so cutting off the flowers before they dry and release the seeds may help contain them.
Oh shoot I forgot to state my point: one flower produces a ton of seeds! Holy moly I could not believe how many seeds came out of the brown dried up flower head. I do not have pictures of the mature Formosa lily because mine is in pot and old sent up a 3 1/2″ foot stem with 1 bloom. I hope next year I will be able to share more pictures as I cultivate a new garden. You can google more information about the Formosa lily and as I grow this lovely fragrant flower I will share more.
Thanks for stopping by and reading. If you have the Formosa Lily I would love to hear from you on any tips. Gardening is a learning experience and one that I love to share!
Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!
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