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Belladonna Lily Planting Guide

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Naked, but not Naughty
Belladonna-lilies

If you're a warm weather gardener you've probably heard of naked ladies. It's a name that one tends to remember. And the blossoms are pretty unforgettable, too. These big South African ladies are happiest in hot, dry locations so they're custom made for the southwest and other warm places where conditions can be controlled by moving containers around. Belladonna lilies come into their full glory in the late summer, a time when many other flowers have passed their prime for the year. Plant some this fall and they'll delight you with big, aromatic blossoms for years to come.

Outdoor Beds
  1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2-3" to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. Belladonna lilies will not thrive in wet soils.
  2. Site your bulbs where they will receive full sun. 
  3. Dig holes and plant the tear dropp shaped bulbs with their tips just at the soil surface and space 12" apart. The bulbs are large with slight pointed tops - plant with the points facing upwards.
  4. After planting, water well to settle the soil around the bulbs. Roots will form in the autumn. Flowers are produced in mid to late summer with foliage following thereafter.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to cut belladonna lilies for spectacular arrangements. This will not hurt the plants.
  6. After blooming has finished for the season, foliage will develop. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulbs for the future. Water as needed during active growth periods; about 1" of moisture per week is a good estimate. 
  7. By late summer or early fall the foliage may yellow and die back. Your bulbs will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle. In the warmest regions the folaige may stay green until mid spring. Then it will yellow and die back. When the foliage is absent and the bulbs are dormant, withhold water.
Pots, Barrels, Tubs & Urns
  1. Find a large container and fill it with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; belladonna lily bulbs must never sit in water logged soil or they will rot. 
  2. Site your bulbs where they will receive full sun. 
  3. Dig holes and plant the teardrop-shaped bulbs with their tips just at the soil surface and space 7-8" apart. The bulbs are large with slight pointed tops - plant with the points facing upwards.
  4. After planting, water well to settle the soil around the bulbs. Roots will form in the autumn. Flowers are produced in mid to late summer with foliage following thereafter.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to cut belladonna lilies for spectacular arrangements. This will not hurt the plants.
  6. After blooming has finished for the season, foliage will develop. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulbs for the future. Water as needed during active growth periods; about 1" of moisture per week is a good estimate. 
  7. By late summer or early fall the foliage may yellow and die back. Your bulbs will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle. In the warmest regions the foliage may stay green until mid spring. Then it will yellow and die back. Withhold water when leaves are absent and the bulbs are dormant.




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