The trumpet lily is common to tropical and subtropical regions around the globe. There are dozens of varieties, providing different colors, stalk lengths and flower arrangements, and blooming at different times of the year. And in addition to being a colorful addition to any garden, they can be very helpful to gardens with a higher than normal pH content.
A trumpet lily prefers loamy soil, and will thrive in soil mixes which contain a great deal of humus or compost. As they grow, trumpet lilies work to balance the soil pH, bring the acidic content down to below 6.8, which places it in the optimal range for other plants. In this way, planting trumpet lilies can improve the soil while providing you with a colorful display that lasts for much of the year. Trumpet lily roots are relatively sensitive, and may not be able to grow well in clay soils, but a trumpet lily will thrive in sandy soil as long as the nutritional requirements are met.
Mixing Varieties for Longer Seasons
There are many, many varieties of trumpet lily bulb, each one with characteristics which are specific to that plant. To use trumpet lilies for a longer lasting flower garden, plant bulbs with different blooming seasons, and as one species goes out of bloom, another will come in, stretching out the beauty of trumpet lilies across most of the growing season. Additionally, different varieties of trumpet lily are different colors or stem lengths, or many other differences, so that the garden evolves over time, displaying an ever changing assortment of trumpet lilies.
Recycling Old Blooms
As your oriental trumpet lily or other varieties bloom and then the flowers wilt, pick them. Allowing blooms to remain on the stem after they have died drains vital resources away from the plant, but be careful not to trim back more than about an inch of the stem when cutting blooms, or you may shock the plant's growth system. Instead of discarding old blooms, mix them into your compost, where the acid reducing properties of the plant can help condition your compost, making it easier to treat larger patches of soil.
Wintering Trumpet Lilies
Trumpet lilies do not have to be dug during the winter months. The bulbs are moderately hardy, and can stand up to most weather. In climate with hard freezes or lingering snows, protect the bulbs with a thick layer of peat or mulch. Do not freeze bulbs for storage, as can be done with some flower bulbs; trumpet lilies are not tough enough to handle being frozen solid for long periods.
Trumpet Lilies Work Hard
Trumpet lilies are useful for garden aesthetics as well as soil health. They can be planted among other garden plants to modify the soil, and will add visual appeal in the process. Spreading out trumpet lily varieties allow your garden to stay colorful long after the crop season has passed, speeding up the reduction of acid in the soil, making it viable for more sensitive plants.