How to Plant Potted Lilies

How to Plant Potted Lilies

We bet you already have a number of lily bulbs planted in your garden, and you may receive some potted lilies each spring as a gift, but how about planting your own in containers? These gorgeous flowers deserve to be front and center, and container planting is just the way to achieve that.

6 Reasons to Plant Potted Lilies

We could simply say “Because they’re obviously amazing,” but we really want to drive the point home. 

  • It’s a 2-for-1 extravaganza: It combines the benefits of a fun and easy way to garden with the eye-popping beauty of lilies.
  • It’s more economical than buying already potted lilies: Prepotted and blooming lilies are often $25/each or more. For a fraction of the cost, you can create your own lily container garden. Many of our lilies are less than $10 for a set of 3 bulbs!
  • You can have the exact varieties you want without being at the mercy of your garden center or home improvement store. No more being forced to buy what everyone else has!
  • Potted lilies allow you to have lilies indoors without cutting your bedded lilies: As you know, flowering bulbs need their foliage intact after blooming in order to store energy for next year’s blooms. So, if you cut an abundance of your in-ground lilies for arrangements, you’re actually decreasing their vigor over time. Potted lilies are the answer!
  • Potted lilies are movable: They go where you need them, whether it’s inside on your dining room table, on the front porch or patio, or on the edge of your garden.
  • They add exotic drama: From their large petals to their brilliant colors and patterns, lilies are the ultimate “look at me” flowering bulb.

 Tips for Planting Lilies in Pots

Start by reading our Lily Planting Guide, then hone in on these tips for picture-perfect potted lilies:

  1. Plant in the spring for summer color. That means now, friends! Order those bulbs to coincide with proper planting time, as lily bulbs do their best when they’re new and fresh.
  2. Choose your lilies. We suggest using Asiatic and Oriental type lilies as these varieties offer large flowers with strong stems. Trumpet and Orienpet (OT) lilies tend to grow too large for functional container plantings, tending to topple over in the process.
  3. Use pots with drainage holes. Lilies hate being waterlogged, so be sure your pots have adequate drainage holes. If you fall in love with a container you find at a garden center and it doesn’t have drainage holes, ask the staff to drill them for you. Many shops offer this service up front. Wondering about pot size? Bigger is better if you’re grouping bulbs (2-3 gallon containers are perfect). 
  4. Add potting soil. Gather good quality, all-purpose and well-draining potting soil and fill your containers.
  5. Plant bulbs. Dig holes in the soil, and plant lily bulbs 4” apart, 4-6” deep with the pointy end up. For full containers, plant 3-5 bulbs in each.
  6. Water in and wait. Water thoroughly immediately after planting, and then begin watering again as soon as new foliage emerges. When they begin to bloom, water once a week and continue watering even after they are done blooming. When the foliage has died, you can stop watering. You can now either dig up and store your bulbs or compost them and consider them annuals. Read this blog post to learn more about watering bulbs.
  7. Fertilize. We suggest a high potassium fertilizer every couple of weeks, starting from when you plant until the plant is done blooming (if you’re not going to store the bulbs). If you plan to dig up and store, then continue fertilizing until 6 weeks after the last blooms.
  8. Enjoy! 
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