Plant of the Month – July, 2010
Lilium ‘Triumphator’. All photos by Jimmy Turner.
AT A GLANCE
Latin name: Lilium longiflorum x Oriental ‘Triumphator’
Common name: Hybrid trumpet lily
Flowers: Large clusters of pink and white trumpets
Mature size: 32” to 48”
Hardiness: Zones 5-9
Soil: Not picky
Exposure: Full sun to late afternoon shade
Water usage: Medium
Sources: www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com and www.bdlilies.com
Looking for a plant to really wow your neighbors? Well, I have one I guarantee will do the trick! How about a pink and white trumpet-shaped lily that gets almost 4 feet tall and may have 20 or more 6-inch-long flowers per spike? They even flower in the heat of summer during late June and into July!
The hybrid lily ‘Triumphator’ is a cross of the common Easter lily, which lends stem strength and height, and the Oriental lily, which adds new color and extreme fragrance. This type of hybrid is called an “Orienpet.” Both of the parent lilies do well in Texas, but the hybrid of the two performs even better for me. The 6-inch-long Easter-lily-like flowers of ‘Triumphator’ are deep maroon to rose pink on the inside of the throat, fading to pure white at the edges. The first year, bulbs may shoot up only one stem a few feet tall, and produce only a couple of flowers, but be patient. Each year that it returns, this lily will get larger, eventually producing spikes that reach 4 feet tall with up to 20 flowers per stem. The fragrance is incredible and inescapable; it is a softer version of the Oriental lily cut flowers you may have purchased.
Be forewarned that you can’t buy these right now in nurseries or online; you’ll need to wait until fall. Purchase bulbs from www.BrentandBeckysBulbs.com or www.bdlilies.com. Be sure to plant the bulbs as soon as you can after they arrive, since they dry out quickly. Plant the bulbs 2-1/2 times the depth of the bulb, usually from 4 to 6 inches deep. I say this since bulbs can range from tangerine to grapefruit size depending on what you buy. Eventually the bulbs will grow to almost cantaloupe size! Really! Plant in well-drained soil in full sun to late afternoon shade at the back of perennial or shrub borders. If you have heavy clay soil, then plant them in raised beds.
Be aware, while you are shopping online for these, that anything listed as a “Trumpet,” “Longiflorum,” or a hybrid of these lilies does very well in most of Texas. Just remind yourself to shop for them this fall through early next spring and to plant them quickly. Some of my other favorites are ‘Golden Splendour’, ‘African Queen’, and ‘Pink Perfection’. I’m betting your neighbors will be looking over your fence and searching for the source of the heavenly fragrance!
About the author: Jimmy Turner is the senior director of gardens at the Dallas Arboretum. Visit www.dallasplanttrials.org for more information on his trials.