INFORMATION ABOUT NOMOCHARIS: THE CHINESE ALPINE LILY…
By: Nikki Phipps
Image by brewbooks A most fascinating group of plants belonging to the Lily family, Nomocharis are small sub-alpine bulbs of the Himalaya with wide flowers on short stems. Nomocharis is a genus that consists of about 7 species native to China and northern India.
They may also be referred to as the Chinese Alpine Lily. The genus derives its name from the Greek word nomos, meaning meadow, and charis, meaning grace or loveliness.
The Chinese Alpine Lily makes a great flowering bulb for summer gardens rewarding you with spikes of flat flowers that are often spotted. Often considered a collector’s plant, the Chinese Alpine Lily is rarely seen in the United States.
Extremely beautiful with flowers that resemble those of an orchid, the Chinese Alpine Lily ranges in color from pink to rose or white. This genus of bulbs has a lily-like habit and requires a dry winter and moist summer.
As some species of this plant may oftentimes be hard to come by, you should research their particular growing needs beforehand as they can be difficult and finicky to grow.
Most species require a high organic matter environment with shade and cool growing conditions. The bulbs should be planted in fall about 3-6 inches deep in well-drained, humus-rich or sandy soil.
Seeds can be planted in either spring or fall. Chinese Alpine Lilies are ideally suited to the cool woodland garden or areas shaded by a fence or a North-facing garden.
Once established, the flower spikes can reach from 1-3 feet tall. These plants do not do well after being disturbed once planted. Because of this, plants should be propogated by seed rather than by division.
They are fully hardy into zone 6 and requires partial shade and rich, well drained soil with a high humus-content. Propagation is by seeds or offsets in the winter or spring.
While Chinese Alpine Lily enjoys woodland settings, you should be aware that some four-legged, furry creatures, such as rabbits, also enjoy eating it.