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Globe Lilies for the Garden

Articles: Globe Lilies for the Garden

The diminutive globe lilies can hardly be equaled for their delicacy and distinctive bearing. Native to woodlands and forests in California, several have proven adaptable to gardens, in shade or part shade, and less demanding than their cousins, the tall mariposas. All are in the genus Calochortus.

Globe lilies should be planted where their dainty shapes and colors can be appreciated. They add sparkle to shady borders and wooded areas and are suitable companions for other shade-loving native plants such as disporums, heucheras, and some irises. They also can be used with nonnative shade plants such as violets, low campanulas, and primroses. With good drainage they may be watered throughout the year, and if organic materials are added to the soil, they should make vigorous growth.

The shape of the flowers divides the small Calochortus species into two groups. In the first are four species of globe lilies or fairy lanterns (including C. amabilis) with nodding, globe-shaped flowers. In the second are ten species of star tulips and cat’s ears, all with cup-shaped flowers. Plants in both groups are of low stature, generally from a few inches to a foot tall, sometimes branched, and...

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Articles: Calochortophilia: A Californian’s Love Affair with a Genus by Katherine Renz

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