This lovely little lily hails from a very limited geographical area in the Manipur region of north-east India on the frontier with Myanmar (formerly Burma), where it was discovered in 1946 by the plant explorer Frank Kingdon-Ward and named for his second wife (née Jean Macklin). It received an Award of Merit by the RHS when exhibited for the first time in 1948. Kingdon-Ward found it growing on steep grassy slopes at 2290-2440 m. (7500-8000 ft.) and ranging from single-flowered dwarfs under 30 cm. (1 ft.) high on windswept ridges to much taller plants carrying up to eight flowers in sheltered hollows. There are several forms in cultivation including the descendants of KWs original seed introduction (illustrated here) which are mostly less than 50 cm. (1 ft. 9in.) tall having flowers that are white or very pale pink within, flushed reddish without, to more recent introductions some of which are much taller and have pale to mid pink flowers.
Lilium mackliniae, being diminutive in size is suited for a suitable spot in the larger rock garden, which must have humus-rich soil that does not dry out and provide shelter from direct summer sun. It is, however, perhaps best suited among small ericaceous shrubs, growing happily in compost comprised almost entirely of organic matter. This is one of the lilies that I always raise from seed as it flowers in 2-3 years, and I always plant the whole potfull out rather than separating the bulbs as it looks well in a clump. Provided a handful of general fertiliser is scattered on the soil overlying the bulbs in late winter I find that the clumps go on flowering well for several years. Rather than lifting the bulbs and dividing them when the inevitable decline sets in I always have a few potsfull coming along from seed as replacements, thereby avoiding the probability of build-up of viruses.
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