All about Liliums

Growing Lilies

Asiatic and Oriental lilies are the most popular garden lily varieties. Asiatic lilies bloom first in early winters . They are not fussy as long as they are grown in well-draining soil. They are the shortest type of lily (about 2 to 3 feet tall) and come in many colors, from pastel to tropical. They don’t have much of a fragrance, but they do add bright color to the garden. It’s the Oriental lilies that have that famously strong fragrance. They are tall and stately (4 feet), and tend to grow more slowly, often blooming about the time when Asiatic lily flowers are fading

What are “True Lilies”?

True lilies grow from bulbs and are of the genus Lilium. Daylilies (Hemerocallis), despite having “lilies” in their name, are not true lilies. Daylilies have many leaves that grow from a crown, whereas true lilies generally have only one stem or shoot that grows from the bulb. Similarly, peace lilies, canna lilies, and calla lilies are not true lilies. 

When do Lilies Bloom?

Lilies tend to bloom from early early winter , depending on the type. By carefully blending early, mid-season, and late varieties into your garden, you will enjoy their magnificent blooms for extended period. At home in both formal and naturalistic settings, most lilies also take readily to containers. Plus, they make great cut flowers!

Planting

When to Plant Lilies

  • Plant lily bulbs in the fall, a few weeks before the winter brings freezing temperatures. Bulbs planted in the autumn will have well established roots in the spring. The bulbs benefit from a winter chill to produce big blooms.
  • We do advise planting in spring in areas with particularly harsh winters. Container-grown lily plants can be planted anytime after monsoon .
  • Buy the bulbs close to planting time.

How to Plant Lilies

  • Select a site with soil that drains well. How can you tell? After a good rain, find a spot that is the first to dry out. Water trapped beneath the overlapping scales on the lily bulb may cause rot, so a well-drained site is essential.
  • Lilies need lots of sun. For dependable blooms, lilies need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. If it’s too shady, the stems will attempt to lean towards the sun or get spindly and fall over. 
  • Lilies are best suited for Zones 3 to 8. They do not thrive in Zones 9 and 10 without a period of refrigeration; they need a cold, dormant period.
  • Most of the popular varieties prefer acidic to neutral soil, but some are lime-tolerant or prefer alkaline soils (e.g., Madonna lilies).
  • Loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches. The deep planting encourages the developing stem to send out roots to help stabilize the plant and perhaps eliminate the need for staking. Also, deep planting keeps lily bulbs cool when temperatures soar.
  • Enrich the soil with leaf mold or well-rotted organic matter to encourage good drainage. Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.
  • Plant the bulbs 3 times as deep as the height of the bulb and set the bulb in the hole pointy side up. Fill the hole with soil and tamp gently.
  • Space bulbs at a distance equal to three times the bulb’s diameter (usually about 8 to 18 inches apart, depending on the variety).
  • For a good effect, plant lilies in groups of 3 to 5 bulbs.
  • Water thoroughly. 


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