lily graphicOrienpets combine the beauty of Orientals with the garden traits of the Trumpets and Aurelian hybrids. They often have more intense colors in cooler weather, with the colors fading in high heat. Outstanding fragrance is another bonus with these vigorous lilies. Orienpets can grow quite tall and bloom late for the most part, from mid-August through to October, depending on the weather.

I grow a number of Orienpets from Dr. Wilbert Ronald and Lynn Collicut's selections and I find those that grow best on the Prairies are also bred on the Prairies. In recent years a number of new varieties are being released by the breeders in Holland, bringing exciting new colors and shorter varieties onto the market at a reasonable cost. Orienpets should be planted in spring, mulched heavily in fall or overwintered in pots on the Prairies unless you have previous experience and know they will survive your typical winter.

Many of the common mail order bulb catalogs have been marketing these varieties as 'Tree Lilies' for a number of years now, but the truth is, although they may have the size and substance of a small tree when you buy them potted, or even the first year in the ground when spring planted, they will take YEARS to attain the same substance when grown on the Prairies - unless you take extra care in overwintering that is. Please note, I did say on the PRAIRIES they will not grow in this manner. Please don't email me to tell me yours grew into a tree when you grow in Zone 4 or warmer, however I would love to hear from you on how they do in your bald prairie, Zone 3 garden!

My experience growing them here in zone 3 shows that they take about 4 years to establish, then they begin to thrive and multiply readily on their own. I've also noted that the longer I leave a bulb alone (completely alone - meaning not disturbing, digging or moving it once planted), the better it performs, often achieving the heights and bud counts the hybridizer says it is capable of, sometimes even exceeding that - but note it takes them 5 years to get there! They do equally well in heavy soil and in sandy based, lighter soil although the bulbs certainly grow bigger and faster in the sandy beds. Some years they bloom much later than the asiatics, starting for example in mid August and continuing well into October providing frost doesn't get them. Other years, they are up out of the ground and blooming the same time as the asiatics. As in everything gardening, it is all weather dependent!

Check out my trials with these types of lilies, made when I first began growing them some twenty or so years ago. Our Alberta climate seems to have changed since then, or perhaps it is just the microclimate I have going on in my own rural garden has changed over time.

* Click any photo or lily name to view more specific information as well as more photos.


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