HOW TO GROW THE GLORY LILY (Gloriosa superba) FROM SEED



The Glory Lily is an easy to grow exotic climber, with lily-like flowers in a wide range of vibrant colours. Growing to a height of about 6 ft, it is ideal for creating a spectacular feature plant climbing up an obelisk in containers or through trellis in borders. While is is fairly easy - though expensive - to obtain sections of glory lily root in order to propagate from, it can be just as easy to grow the glory lily from seed. Not only will this be considerably cheaper, the chances are that you will end up with a lot more plant material.

So, just how do you grow the glory lily from seed?

Sow Glory Lily seeds from February to April. The seeds should be sown into pots or trays of moist seed compost and then covered with a sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place in a propagator or warm place, kept at a temperature of around 20-30 Celsius. After sowing, do not exclude light as this helps germination, and keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged. the seeds should begin to germinate between 30-40 days.

When the seedlings are large enough to handle, they can be transplanted into 3 inch pots containing a good quality compost. Remember to provide some support for the climbing shoots.

In the autumn, the stems of your Glory Lily will begin to die back to a tuber that has been developing over the growing period. Gradually dry off the tuber and store in a cool, dry and frost free place over the winter period. Re-pot in early spring into 13cm (5in) pots and grow on as before, re-potting further as necessary. Grow on in a greenhouse or conservatory.

During the growing season the Glory lily should be watered thoroughly, but again will need to be allowed to dry out almost completely before re-watering – never leave them waterlogged or standing in water as this can encourage rots. When growing begins in the spring they should be given a liquid feed once a week to encourage new growth. Later on in the season a half strength fertilizer added to the water every two weeks will keep plants blooming strongly throughout the summer and sometimes further into early autumn.

To save your tubers from one year to the next it’s best to stop watering the plants from about the end of October. Allow the compost to fully dry off and any foliage to die back down. Now place the pot in a warm dry are over the winter period where temperatures will not go below 5°Celsius. As soon as the threat of frosts are over, the pot can be put back into the greenhouse or conservatory and watered. Once again, re-water once the compost has been allowed to dry out. You may wish to re-pot your Glory Lily into a larger one at this time. The new seasons growth should appear after about three weeks when you can put your glory lily back outside.

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