Lilies adorn your garden and mix lovely shape, delicate color and lovely scent. Although the elegant flowers make these plants seem like the show poodles of the flower world, they are easy to grow from bulbs or seeds. Bulb-grown lilies—including trumpet and Asiatic lilies—bloom more quickly, but if planted correctly, lily seeds that require epigeal or above-ground germination can flower within 18 months. Lily seeds that require hypogeal or underground germination will require your patience; expect to wait at least four years before admiring the first bloom of an oriental lily planted from seed. Varieties of Trumpet, Asiatic and Oriental lilies thrive in a Mediterranean climate.
Collect seeds from lily flowers six to eight weeks after the blooming period. The size and shape of seed pods varies between different lilies, but all swell when fertilized.
Watch for the mature pod to turn brown and begin to split along three lines. Ripe seeds are dark, firm and dry. Collect seeds carefully, preferably in dry weather.
Moisten the seeds. Store them in sealed, refrigerated containers at a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
Plant lily seeds that require epigeal germination in the fall. Act as soon as possible after the seeds ripen.
Sow seeds outdoors in well-drained, fertile soil. Space them one-half to 1 inch apart and wet the soil when planting is complete. After the seeds germinate, water thoroughly every week and feed every two weeks with a water-soluble general fertilizer. Leaves appear in about a month.
Apply a two-inch layer of compost to keep weeds down. Add another two inches in late fall. In June of the second spring, your first buds will appear.
Plant lily seeds that require hypogeal germination in spring but not in a flower bed. These seeds need three months of heat followed by a similar period of cold. “Plant” them by mixing them with a handful of moist peat moss in a plastic bag.
Store seeds in a warm part of your home and add moisture when the moss dries out. Move the entire bag to your refrigerator in about three months when the seeds have swollen and formed small bulbs. Keep the refrigerator temperature at 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the seeds after three months and sow them in well-drained soil. From now on, follow the same instructions as for lilies that require epigeal germination. However, you have to wait about four years for the first lily bud to appear.