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Lily Planting Guide

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Loved for 3,000 Years
Lilies

History buffs will be pleased to note that lilies have been gracing gardens in various parts of the word for over 3,000 years. That's a long time. While the lily varieties on this website haven't been around that long, they do spring from genetic pools that originated when many of the world's peoples were still nomadic hunters and gathers. As you experiment with new types of lilies, take pride in knowing that you are part of a tradition that stretches back to almost 1000 B.C. Pretty cool, huh?








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. Lilies prefer soils with average richness and moisture; they will not thrive in wet soils.
  2. Site your lilies where they'll receive full day sun or bright filtered light in regions where the sun is especially strong.
  3. Dig holes and plant the lilies 6-7" deep and about 6" apart. Plant the bulbs with the flat side down and the garlic-like cloves facing up.
  4. After planting, water generously to settle to soil around the bulbs. Root and top growth will develop quickly and you'll likely see sprouts in a few weeks. Speed of growth is dependent on soil and air temperature; the warmer the temperature, the faster the growth.
  5. Provide supplemental water, as needed in the spring and summer; about 1" per week is a good general estimate. The soil can be allowed to dry out in the late fall and winter when the lilies are dormant. Keep in mind that occasional deep waterings are better than frequent lighter drinks.
  6. Flowers develop during the summer, feel free to cut for bouquets. The generally accepted rule of thumb is to cut no more than one third of the stem. This ensures that there will be sufficient foliage left to nourish the bulb for next year's show.
  7. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don’t cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed. Leaves and stalks may be removed when they yellow.
  8. Your lilies will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in spring.
Pots, Barrels, Tubs & Urns
  1. Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; lily bulbs must never sit in waterlogged soil or they will rot. Keep in mind the mature size of the varieties you have chosen and plan your container sizes accordingly.
  2. Site your lilies where they'll receive full day sun or bright filtered light in regions where the sun is especially strong.
  3. Dig holes and plant the lilies 6-7" deep and about 5-6" apart. Plant the bulbs with the flat side down and the garlic-like cloves facing up.
  4. After planting, water generously to settle to soil around the bulbs. Root and top growth will develop quickly and you'll likely see sprouts in a few weeks. Speed of growth is dependent on soil and air temperature; the warmer the temperature, the faster the growth.
  5. Provide supplemental water, as needed in the spring and summer; about 1" per week is a good general estimate. The soil can be allowed to dry out in the late fall and winter when the lilies are dormant. Keep in mind that occasional deep waterings are better than frequent lighter drinks.
  6. Flowers develop during the summer, feel free to cut for bouquets. The generally accepted rule of thumb is to cut no more than one third of the stem. This ensures that there will be sufficient foliage left to nourish the bulb for next year's show.
  7. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don’t cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed. Leaves and stalks may be removed when they yellow.
  8. Your lilies will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in spring.
Tips:
  1. Plant lilies so they bloom in succession; this provides the greatest number of flowers from the same garden footprint. Asiatics flower early in the summer, Trumpets and Orientals bloom later.
  2. Lilies never slip into full dormancy like many other type of bulbs do, tulips and daffodils, for example. So lilies have the urge to grow when semi-dormant and often develop sprouts even when kept in ideal temperature and humidity conditions. Handle with care at this stage so the sprouts don't snap off.
  3. Many lilies offer incredible fragrance and are excellent for cutting. Orientals are the premiers for bouquets.




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