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Growing Humboldt Lilies-Not Overnight!

Growing Humboldt Lilies- Not Overnight!

Humbolt lilies are among the most beautiful of the California natives right up there with matilija poppies and pacific coast irises. Had to mention both of these as one can understand we grow a lot of matilija poppies – the name of our nursery. We also grow and hybridize many of our own pacific cost irises. In nature Lilium humboldtii grow through out California mostly in Southern California from San Diego through Santa Barbara Counties. Locally you’ll find them in little isolated platches in the Santa Monica Mountains and upper Ojai.

The growing part isn’t that complicated just step by step by step. We collected our seed pods in early fall. This crop was collected in early October.

I was lucky enough to still find a seed pod in early October. Into the paper bag it went and then planted out into a seed flat a few days later. The seed mix is nothing special about 60% perlite and 40% a peat like mix and a little time release fertilizer 14-14-14 or there about. Then just wait and wait and wait for winter. 

By early March of the the following year 2019 germination had begun!

Next, in early April we move the seedlings to individual small liner pots. They’re now growing fairly fast. By the end of May about two month later the root systems were sufficient to move them again into 1 gallon pots. The potting mix we use is pretty standard for us- just a fairly well draining mix so we don’t rot the new seedlings and a little more time release fertilizer. Then water 1x/week. We leave them alone through summer and when it cools down they begin to put up leaves, put down roots,  and grow again.

Here’s a shot of what they look like a year later in November of 2019.

With the new growth beginning in late fall/winter we move them again to a bigger pot to spread and grow their new roots. Same soil mix, fertilizer, and watering.

Here they are flowering in June a year and some  9 month later.

Planting in you garden is just as easy. Plant in fall/winter in a shady place.  Just plant and water. If the soil is very heavy clay – water every other week. If it’s well draining/ sandy then maybe 1x/ week for the first year. Ah, first summer? Drop the watering down to every other week. Letting them dry out a little in summer is fine and in future years maybe 1x/month. Snails? Yes that can be a problem for sure.

What were doing so we can collect the seeds/pods in the nursery….had pollinating same as we hand pollinate pacific coast irises.

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Featured Plant



Botanical Name

Ribes sanguineum glutinosum

Common Name

pink flowering currant


Flower Color


Mature Size

8 tall × 7 wide

Climactic Requirements


Filtered Sun / Part Shade / Shade / Full sun on coast / afternoon shade inland


Drought Tolerant / Occasional
Profile Availability

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