Choosing, Planting And Caring For Your Garden Lilies

Lilies give life and color to any garden and brighten it up beyond your expectations. These hardy bulbs need very little care but can surprise anyone by eventually growing into a large cluster of flowering stems.

To have a longer-lasting series of blooms, you can choose a combination of early, mid-season and late-blooming cultivars. This way, you can have flowering lilies for months on end.


The two most popular types of lily plants for your garden are the Asiatic and Oriental lilies. The Asiatic variety is the easiest to grow.

It is hardy and there is no need for staking. It is also not very choosy when it comes to the soil it grows as long as it has good drainage.


Oriental lilies, on the other hand, are getting to be popular. Credit this to their large, exotic blooms with their heady sweet scents. Orientals can be successfully grown if the soil is organic and acidic, with good drainage as well, and heavily mulched each fall.

One should always consider the plant height and bloom season when choosing them for cultivating. For those not very familiar with each individual plant?s characteristics, try to visit them in public gardens during bloom time to see them in their full glory.


Lily bulbs may be planted in spring or fall. If there are hardy plants in containers, include them in your garden.

Choose only firm and plump bulbs with roots in them. Bulbs don?t go completely dormant and have to be planted before they dry out.

Full sunlight

Both the Asiatic and Oriental lilies are best planted where there is full sunlight. In reduced sunlight, they grow taller and spindly ? not very good looking. Martagon hybrids, however, can bloom well in the shade, which makes them prized by some growers.

For some effects, you can plant your lilies in groups of three or five identical bulbs. Space the plants 8 to 12 inches apart.

Depending on the vigor and size of the lilies, keep the groups 3 to 5 feet apart. Small lily bulbs are planted 2 to 4 inches deep, and the larger bulbs about 4 to 6 inches deep.


Your garden soil for your lilies should drain well. Mix in lots of organic matter to the clay soil to have a raised area with improved drainage.

Finally, add this organic matter into light and sandy soil. This will help hold on to nutrients and prevents fast drying. It is also safe to apply winter mulch. Wait until the ground begins to freeze before spreading it.

Plant food

Leave the mulch in spring until the danger of hard frost is over. Fertilize the soil with a phosphorus formula like the 5-10-10.

Follow the instructions to the letter in fertilizer application. Slow-release fertilizers work very well with lilies.


Lilies have few enemies, but aphids and botrytis blight (a fungal disease) can cause problems on the buds and leaves, respectively.

Spray the aphids off your plants with strong water jets. Water your plants early in the day and provide adequate space between plants for good air circulation, thus preventing fungal disease.

Choosing, planting and caring for your lilies are not that exacting or that rigid in exchange for all that beauty and fragrance of their flowers.


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