Thursday, September 13, 2012
Dear Hortense answers a question about bulbils
What is wrong with my lily plant? It has these brownish-black "things" growing in the leaf axils. Is it a disease? Is it large insect frass? What should I do? What spray should I get?
Dear Ms. Nervousgardener,
If you reach for a spray, which I assume is your word for "pesticide", I shall never answer your gardening questions ever again. Really, why do you think that a spray of some kind is the answer to every single gardening question? Where and why would you get such a notion in your head?
A spray is most assuredly not the answer to any of your questions, especially this one.
These brownish-black "things", as you call them, are a blessing. A gift. A wondrous miracle of plant propagation. They are bulbils, another way that some lilies propagate themselves.
You can harvest these bulbils and plant them and they'll grow into new lily plants which should grow to blooming size in about three years.
Don't even start to complain that three years is too long to wait for a lily to bloom. It is not as though you have to do anything extra in the garden during those seasons while you are waiting. Just weed, water, fertilize like you would anyway.
Really, it will take you all of a few minutes to harvest and plant these bulbils. It's a small amount of time to offer up to increase the number of blooms in your garden in future years. And if you don't want more lily blooms, you can grow these anyway and give the extra plants to others.
There is no downside here. Get going, get planting!