Lilium philadelphicum germination

Submitted by CScott on Wed, 08/23/2017 - 10:05

Has anyone done Lilium philadelphicum from seeds?

This is the Western Wood Lily, and searching the web, I get conflicting directions.

One says warm and dark for two weeks, then chill.

Another says freeze first, then warmer.

Any ideas?  Or maybe, I divide seeds, and try both with separate samples?


Submitted by RickR on Wed, 08/23/2017 - 20:12

Yes, I have had very good results.  If you get seed from a seed ex, it is best if you can first verify your seeds have embryos by candling.  Often well intending donors that send  lily seed, unknowingly send chaff.  I lucked out, and mine came from Panayoti Kelaidis through the NARGS seed ex.


Freeze the dry seed in the freezer for 2 weeks.  (I did one month.)  Place in baggie with moist media.  I wouldn't recommend peat in this case, as L. philadelphicum prefers neutral to alkaline pH.  I used fine vermiculite.  Place baggie under lights for 7 days.  Seed need not be on top and facing the light.  The purpose is to "force" the seeds to imbibe water (by increasing vapor pressure?).  Room temperature 65F(18C), but under lights is 70F(21C).  After the 7 days, place anywhere at 65-70F.  First seeds began germinating in baggie in 8 days (includes 7 days under lights).  

Seed germination


I planted the germinated seed in soil, and they emerged about a week later.   Good luck, Caroline!

Submitted by CScott on Wed, 08/23/2017 - 20:59

Thanks, Rick , for the detailed instructions.

I have them on moist vermiculite.

The seeds were from a local seed dealer.

This is my attempt at a conservation project as they are rare, and people kill them off by picking them.

Submitted by CScott on Mon, 09/11/2017 - 05:22

About half have germinated in a batch that was not frozen.

The other batch has just been removed from freezer.

I have a more recent acquisition of seeds in the freezer as dry seeds.

Submitted by RickR on Tue, 10/24/2017 - 10:33

So you first put some of the seed in moist vermiculite and then in the freezer, and your second batch went dry in the freezer as I did?


Which is germinating?

One batch was on moist vermiculite and left out of frig in kitchen.

Second lot was on moist vermiculite and placed in freezer.

Warm batch germinated after about two weeks.

Second batch taken out of frig after two weeks in freezer.  They germinated more slowly.     But weather was cooler so kitchen was cooler. 

Batch one 8/10 germinated

Batch two 9/10 germinated.    Batch one and two were from same source.

Batch three (from different source) were frozen in the packets as dry seeds.  Out of freezer after two weeks and onto moist vermiculite.

Batch three are still germinating over several weeks.

Submitted by RickR on Wed, 10/25/2017 - 18:21

Thanks for the details, Caroline.  A couple more questions:


With your second batch, and you put them in moist vermiculite: did you put them directly in the freezer, or did you allow them to imbibe water for a couple days before the freezer?


Did you skip the 7 days under lights?

Yes, second batch was allowed to sit moist , and warm, for a day or two, to imbibe water , before placed into freezer. 

All of these have been only under light from a south window.  No electrical light at all.

Third batch is germinating slowly.  They were an "Ebay" purchase, and I suspect they are older seeds.