How To Grow Lilies: Information On The Care Of Lily Plants

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By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener

Growing lilies from bulbs is a favorite pastime of many gardeners. The flower of the lily plant (Lilium spp.) is a trumpet shape and comes in many colors that include pink, orange, yellow and white. The stems of the flower range from 2 to 6 feet. There are many types of lilies but the general care of lily plants is basically the same.

How to Grow Lilies

Before placing bulbs in the ground, it’s important to use a garden tool to loosen the soil. Because lilies need good drainage, it helps to mix compost throughout the soil.

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Dig a hole about 6 inches deep and place the bulb inside with the flat part down and the pointed end up.

Space the bulbs about 8 inches apart. Fill each hole with the soil and press it gently down. Water the ground thoroughly.

How to Care for Lily Flowers

Lilies love the full sun. If they are planted in the shade, the stems will stretch and lean towards the sun. When the lilies are in active growth, be sure to water them frequently.

Additional care of lily plants involves removing the dead flowers. Be sure not to cut off more than a third of the stem. This can reduce the plant’s heartiness and longevity. If you are growing lilies for indoor arrangements only, it might be best to plant them in a chosen cutting garden, where you can plant fresh bulbs each year.

When the lilies bulbs go dormant in the fall, this is the best time to divide the bulbs and replant them.

Common Types of Lilies

Some of the most popular types of lilies include the following:

  • Asiatic lilies – The Asiatic lily is the earliest to bloom. They are also the easiest to grow. This lily will grow almost anywhere. Most are unscented, but they have the widest variety of colors.
  • Martagon lilies – Martagon lilies have whorled leaves and turkscap flowers. It is also called turk’s cap lily, with as many as 20 blooms on one stem. It comes in many colors and is often freckled with flecks of color. Martagons do not grow well in hot climates.
  • Trumpet lilies – Trumpet lilies are known for their trumpet-like flowers and are very fragrant.
  • Tiger liliesTiger lilies are very hardy. The flowers are recurved and freckled. They multiply in clumps and produce more than a dozen flowers on each stem. Its colors range from a golden yellow into a deep red.
  • Rubrum lilies – The rubrum lily resembles the tiger lily, although the colors range from white to deep pink and have a sweet scent.
  • Oriental lilies – Oriental lilies bloom in mid- to late summer, the last lilies to bloom. The lilies can grow to 8 feet tall. They have a spicy fragrance and come in colors of pink, white red and bi-color.

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