HOW TO OVERWINTER THE GLORY LILY – Gloriosa rothschildiana

How to overwinter the glory lily

Like so many exotics, the Glory Lily is not hardy when grown in a northern European climate, but don't let that stop you from planting what is perhaps one of the most beautiful flowering plants that you can have in the garden. However, they are relatively expensive to buy and what you get for your money – root wise – is not going to grow into much in its first year. In fact, you are going to need to look at overwintering you glory lily for at least a couple of seasons before you get anything of a decent enough size to look at.

Saving the tubers for overwintering is very easy, but there is an element of cheating involved. The easiest way is to plant the tubers into pots first and then plant that pot into the soil. That way when it comes to lifting the tuberous root system – which is where next year’s plant will grow from – you know exactly where the tuber it is, you are not likely to lose it the borders once the foliage has died back and neither are you at risk from damaging it when you try and lift it.

You need to start preparing the Glory Lily for winterizing from about the end of September and this is done by withholding any further water.

You can either lift the pot and place it under cover, or you can protect the plant from rain using some kind of appropriate cover.

Whatever you decide to do you need to allow the compost or soil to dry out as this will encourage the foliage to die back. This is important as it allows nutrients to be drawn back into the root tuber which will be used for the following year’s growth.

Before the weather gets so cold that frosts are likely, bring the pot into a cool, dry position indoors where temperatures won’t get below 6 or 7 degrees Celsius. Light isn't important for overwintering Glory Lily root tubers but good ventilation is.

During the early spring the root-ball can be potted on – but only if necessary – and watering can commence once more. Remember to only re-water the tuber once the compost has once again dried out. The new seasons growth should appear after about three weeks, and once the threat of frosts are over they can be planted – again in their pots - outside into their final position.

WARNING! Be careful when you are handling glory lily root tubers – especially if you have sensitive skin - as they are toxic.

For related articles click onto the following links:
BBC: How to grow gloriosa
THE GLORY LILY - Gloriosa rothschildiana
THE TURK'S CAP LILY - Lilium martagon

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