Thursday, May 27, 2010

Amazon Lily Finally Earns Its Keep

Some things defy logic. I've always been told that plants have an innate desire to reproduce. The way some do this is by flowering and producing seed. Now most of the time, I couldn't care less whether they produce seed, especially if it's a tropical that I'm growing in the house, but I DO want those flowers!

Tropical plants tend to have unusual and extraordinarily beautiful flowers.  That's what first drew me to Amazon Lilies when I saw a package of bulbs for sale in Walmart in Bradenton, Florida on a vacation trip there. White and big and just lovely.

I bought the package of three bulbs and when I got home, I planted them in a pot, watered them, and waited.  Soon, dark green leaves began to emerge from the soil and I was amazed at how large they were.  They kept putting out those verdant, shiny leaves and I waited for the day when I'd see their beautiful white blooms.

I waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Lots of beautiful foliage, but no flowers.  In the meantime, I was on one of my many visits to the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in Ft. Wayne, IN, and while strolling through the rainforest, came across some gorgeous white blooms.  It took me a little bit to figure out which of the plants they were coming from, then I realized it was the Amazon Lilies.

Wow...these were much more stunning than I'd remembered when I purchased my bulbs five years ago.  That's right. FIVE years ago.  No flowers in all that time.  I couldn't figure out how I could have such a healthy plant, yet it wouldn't bloom.  Just seeing those blooms in person frustrated me all the more.  I wanted some of my own!

I came home and decided I was tired of looking at my wonderful foliage plant and put it into one of the spare bedrooms.  It was winter, and that room wasn't heated as much as the rest of the house.  The temperature was probably somewhere around 60 degrees.

When this spring came, I brought the lily out again and pretty much ignored it.  Then one day last week, as I was doing my watering, I noticed spears with buds on the ends peeking out of the foliage!

They're in full bloom now and I'm doing the happy dance.

Apparently, there are others that have problems getting these to bloom, according to Dave's Garden. There are some plants that need a period of cold, or need cold nights to bloom. That's my first guess as to why, after all this time, mine decided to bloom. Yet, the ones at the conservatory don't have this. Or maybe they needed to reach a certain size before blooming, although they were good-sized when I planted them and had five years of growth.  For whatever reason, I'm happy to see that something worked.

Amazon Lily
Eucharis grandiflora

Zone 10 - 11
Full shade


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I can see why you were so patient waiting for these blooms. They are gorgeous. Into the spare room next winter too I would say.

JulenaJo said...

Stunning flower! Congratulations on getting that beauty to finally bloom! Looks like it was worth the wait.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Wow Kylee that is a really nice lily. Given that it is fragrant too is such a bonus. I am surprised at how tall it is.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Wow Kylee that is a really nice lily. Given that it is fragrant too is such a bonus. I am surprised at how tall it is.

Unknown said...

I have had one bulb survive out of 8 that my mother purchased back in the 70's. It is still in the pot that my mother had a set of around our patio at the time. Over the years it has produced lovely green leaves as a houseplant. When I moved into an apartment with my children in 2001 it seemed to produce a lot of leaves and then in summer of 2002 it bloomed for the first time under my care. Since then I have moved several times and took this plant with me every time. Then two years ago I moved into a high rise apartment with northside windows so to add to the light my many plants need I added growlux lights in two of my living room windows. I noticed last week it had sent up a bloom spike and this morning the first flower is all the way open. It has taken 14 yrs to see it bloom again and I am delighted. I don't know if it was the added light or the fact that it has settled in on the windowsill after having been moved around and bounced around from place to place, but whatever it was I guess it is happy enough to bloom now.

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