Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Philippine lilies are blooming

Philippine lilies, aka Formosa lilies (Lilium formosanum), blooming in my garden today.

I am mostly a failure when it comes to the growing of anything that springs from a bulb. Maybe I plant the bulbs too deep or too shallowly, or I don't water them enough or I drown them, or maybe I just have the wrong kind of soil. For whatever reason, bulbs and I just don't seem simpatico, with a few notable exceptions. And so it is particularly gratifying to find one that seems willing not only to survive in my garden but to actually thrive there. Meet my Philippine lilies.

I was given a start of these lilies as a passalong by a friend about three years ago. For the first couple of years, they grew but didn't actually produce any blooms. This is the first year that they have rewarded my patience in not yanking them out of the bed a year ago. This year they actually bloomed right on schedule, here in the first week of August.  

The Philippine lily resembles a much taller Easter lily of which it is actually a close relative. These lilies can create stalks of up to 5-6 feet tall and so they are generally best planted at the back of the flower border. Those stalks will bear clusters of nodding white trumpets full of golden pollen. As the pollen is shed, the inner parts of the trumpet can become suffused with a golden hue.

Like plants such as datura, brugmansia, night-blooming jasmine, and 4 o'clocks, these lilies emit a wonderful scent at night that attracts moths, particularly the interesting hummingbird moth which is about as large as a hummingbird and is sometimes mistaken for that little bird.

Philippine lilies are said to set many seed which will easily germinate and produce new lilies. This summer/fall will be my first opportunity to test whether that is really true. I hope it is, because I would love to have more of these lovely lilies in my garden. 


  1. I admire the purity of the white of these lilies, it is quite attractive. I plant a lot of colorful flowers but have a white lily too, which is blooming now.

    1. White is always a nice accompaniment, I think. It sets off the other colors and makes them even brighter. Plus, it is rather cooling on these hot, hot days.

  2. They're lovely. I think the seeding about is true. I've seen places in town where it looked like they threw yard trimmings and debris at the edge of the yard. Come August, there were lilies abundant.

    1. Good to know. I'm certainly going to try to preserve and plant any seeds that develop.

  3. Lately I became very interested in growing plants but I can't find sources online that is local. So I created a forum where us pinoys can discuss about gardening:


    Please help me grow the community. Feel free to signup and post. Thanks.