If the Beetles Eat Your Oriental Lilies, What Can You Substitute for Them?


Submitted 5 months ago
Created by
Henry Homeyer

I’ve been reading a number of suggestions on the Lyme Gardener’s list serve recently about how to cope with the red lily leaf beetle on Oriental and Asiatic lilies. Some I have tried, like picking them daily, even thrice daily. But I gave up growing Oriental lilies long ago. Lovely, yes, but I don’t want to spray or use systemic poisons. And hand picking didn't work for me. 

The lily leaf beetle is a nasty pest. Their larvae carry their feces on their backs to keep us  (and the birds) from picking them!

So what do I do? I grow Angel’s Trumpet (Datura inoxia.). It has a big white blossom similar to those on the Oriental lily. It does not have the fragrance of the Orientals, nor the variety of colors. The variety I grow is called ‘Belle Blanche’. There is also a purple variety, but I found it not nearly as vigorous. Mine do have a light, but mild fragrance. 

Angel's trumpet or Datura keeps on blooming all summer.

Angel’s trumpet is said to be highly toxic if ingested, and even to cause unpleasant hallucinations. All parts of the plant are toxic, so it is not a good choice if you have toddlers or dogs that chew on plants.

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But here’s the great thing about Angel’s Trumpet: Unlike Oriental lilies, it keeps on blooming all summer. This week I have one with 15 buds and blossoms on it, blooming in a half whisky barrel by the front of the house. They are killed by frost, but they will continue to bloom until then. 

Angel's trumpet does best in full sun and rich soil. I water mine if dry times to keep them healthy and vigorous. 

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Be a kid again. Get out there in the warm rain!

Stone can be so lovely in the garden. Read about the Stone Trust and Dan Snow's amazing stone work. Learn what you can do, too, by clicking here. 

The Stone Trust has examples of fine stone work.

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