Martagon Lily

The species lilies are wonderful plants, and the Martagon lily although not as cheap as some, is one of the best bulbs available for sale in the UK. This is a wonderful garden bulb, reliable and early to flower. It is a Turk's Cap type and can reach 1.5m in height.

We see it as little more 'refined' than its big brassy hybrid relatives with its lovely recurved petals Lilium Martagon is one of many lilies that are 'under sold'.

Flowering in late spring to summer, dark mauve pink flowers spotted with a deeper mauve. This is a lily that can be left to find its way through low growing shrubs that offer support, or perhaps grown in an attractive pot near a doorway.

Martagon Lily Growing conditions and care

Like most lilies, Martagons do have a few requirements to ensure good growth and to become established and one of these is drainage. Although they are found over a wide area from Turkey through to Siberia they will only survive winters in a well drained position. In containers many grows use a layer of Seramis directly beneath the bulk to ensure good drainage.

Be a little careful with mulch as well, we read a lot about a 'good layer of mulch', try not to overdo it as to much mulch can retain to much water. If you are planting in the garden make sure the area is free draining, dig in some extra material to improve drainage if needed, or 'lift up' the garden bed in really wet areas.

Martagon Lily Varieties

This is a turk's-cap lily, reflexed petals, common form is usually pink, with maroon spots. However being such a widespread species the Martagon is also varied. A wonderful white form L. martagon var. album has been around for over 100 years. Lilium martagon var. cattaniae is a wonderful deep red to purple variety the darkest form we have seen


All lilliums can be propagated by division and the Martagon is no exception. However remember that they do not actually like to be disturbed, so leave division until needed, and, you will need to divide eventually.

Liliums have a habit of suffering from a a sort of 'colony collapse' clumps start to shrink, rather than grow, a sure sign that division is required this might be every 4 - 5 years. Lift the whole clump, divide and discard any diseased or rotting bulbs. We like to replant in a new location, even if its just next to the old position

As for growing from seed, if you are the patient type them seed to flowering will take around 4 - 6 years depending on techniques. If you decide to grow from seed try not to separate the new plants for 3 years, the bulbs need time to develop.

And how much should Martagons cost you? This will depend on the variety, in 2012 t he rare Lilium martagon var. cattaniae cost as much as 14 the ordinary form around 4 and the white form around 6.

John Allman