Two white lilies in a garden

A Complete Guide on How to Grow Lily Flowers

Lily flowers are the perfect choice for a stunning garden. People all over the world pick them for their big blooms in bright colors and multitude of breeds, which allow them to grow the plants mostly all year long. Although they might look too sophisticated, they are very easy to grow and require no special conditions. Here are a few tips on how to grow lily flowers.

Pink stargazer lily in bloom in a garden

What to know about lily flowers before planting

Lilies can easily grow in your garden throughout most of the year. However, if you don’t have the suitable soil or cannot afford to plant them in your garden, they can do just as well in a pot or container. Depending on the breed and variety of the lily flowers, you can have blooms in all kinds of colors. These colors, like white, pink, red, and even orange and gold, look great as cut flowers.

To enjoy the colorful lily flowers for a more extended period, you should first know how to combine the breeds. Pick both some early and some late varieties, and they will keep blooming from spring to late autumn. However, make sure you choose real lilies.

The lilies that fit this category include Oriental and Asiatic lilies. Other plants that contain the word ‘lily’ in their names, such as peace lilies, daylilies, and canna lilies, belong to a different category. This means they have other properties and require different conditions to grow. This guide is about how to grow lily flowers from the first category.

How to grow lily flowers

When getting ready for a lily plantation, you should consider several factors. First of all, make sure you pick the right soil and location in your garden. Then, make sure you follow all steps during the planting process and take care of the blooms properly. You shouldn’t despair, as learning how to grow lily flowers is not at all difficult.

Choosing the soil

Lily flowers are not so picky about the soil, as they can deal with most anything as long as it is relatively rich. However, the real problem is drainage. The plant doesn’t like wet soil, so you should find a solution to deal with wetness. If you have an area of your garden where you can easily drain water, you should pick this spot for the planting.

If not, you can create a raised bed. This way, all the water will drain, and the bulbs won’t soak. This is extremely important, as puddles around the bulbs might cause rotting. Then, to keep the soil rich even after planting, mix it with compost every spring.

Choosing the planting spot in the garden

Lily flowers are big fans of sunlight, so you should find a place as sunny as possible. Make sure they get at least six hours of full sun, but their roots need to stay cool. To do this, you can plant them among other flowers and herbs to shade the roots. They go well with perennials and annuals that don’t grow too tall, or with most any kind of grasses.

Red tiger lily blooms

Pick the right moment for planting

You can start the planting either in spring or autumn. Most lilies like a moderate climate, so it’s better to do the planting during spring. Some varieties can deal with the cold, making them able to survive even a harsher winter, but most of them thrive in milder conditions. Before picking the season, make sure you know where your varieties grow best.

Start the planting

Before putting the bulbs in the ground, you should get the soil ready. To do it, you have to loosen it by making some holes 12 to 15 inches deep. This is the moment when you should also add the compost. Drainage is essential. You can help the soil drain better by mixing it with some dead leaves and other types of organic matter.

If you want the lily population to last, it’s better to plant them at a more significant depth. This way, you allow their roots to develop, and the plants can remain sturdy. Such planting also helps with keeping the roots cool. If you don’t have other plants around to shade it, this is the ideal solution.

Insert the bulbs

After preparing the soil, it’s time to put the bulbs in. Be careful, as they are high, so dig the hole at a bigger depth. Afterwards, insert it with the pointy end facing upwards, and cover it with soil. For the lily flowers to thrive, place the bulbs at least 8 inches apart from each other, and in rows of five. This way, you make sure they have plenty of space to develop.

How to care for the lily flowers

After you have placed the lily bulbs in the soil, you should help the flowers thrive. Just like any plants, they need a little extra care to turn into astonishing colorful blooms, but there’s not much work you have to do.

Watering

Although they need good drainage, lily flowers still require some watering. Feel free to water them as freely as possible during the first period after the planting. Do it especially if the weather is unusually dry, or the quantity of water after the rainfall is not sufficient. Keep the plants moist even during winter, to avoid the bulbs from freezing over.

Keep the roots cool

As mentioned above, the roots need a cooler temperature than the flowers and the stems. Therefore, consistently apply mulch or organic materials over the surface of the soil to keep the sun away. This applies only if you haven’t planted other flowers and herbs around.

Fertilizing

For a more extended period after planting, the lily flowers will need a liquid fertilizer. Pick a variety that is rich in potassium, and use it once every two weeks as spring sets in. Keep applying the fertilizer until six weeks have passed since the first flowers bloomed.

Full bloom yellow lily in the sun

Staking

Some plants need a little extra support when they grow too tall, and lilies are one of them. Knowing how to grow lily flowers also implies knowing how to stake them. Once the stems start dominating the garden, it’s time to insert the stake in the ground and give them something to lean on.

Cutting and removing leaves and flowers

It’s important to remove the wilted flowers and leaves to conserve the energy of the plant. You can cut the wilted flowers, but leaves should be kept until the end of the season. Only then do they start wilting, and alert you they need cutting.

Unlike flowers, the leaves help the plant get enough energy to get ready for next season. Even if they only flower once per season, lilies still need all the possible energy to thrive.

Protecting from pests

Mold can easily attack the bulbs of lily flowers. This is why you should leave enough space between them and allow them to stay aerated. The plants can even become victims of different viruses, but you might be lucky enough and get a strain that can resist infection.

Critters like rabbits, groundhog, or deer might sneak in and devour your plants. In this case, you can surround them with a cage made of wire and prevent the animals from reaching the flowers.

How to cut the lily flowers

Most people who choose to grow lily flowers do it because of their decorative use. Their colorful trumpet-shaped blooms make great bouquets and fill your house with a pleasant smell. Whenever you cut the flowers, make sure you don’t cut over a third of the stem. This way, you’ll allow new blooms to appear next season.

Avoid snipping the green buds, as they still need some growing. Pick those flowers that are already a little open. They will continue to bloom even after you cut them. Make a diagonal incision on the stem to allow it to get water, and remove all the leaves nearby.

If you are afraid of those tough yellow stains that pollen leaves behind, you can easily avoid them. Cut the pollen-covered stamen at the center, and you no longer have to worry about the stains.

Lily varieties

As mentioned before, there are plenty of breeds and varieties of lilies you can choose from that are still the real ones. These include the Asiatic, Oriental, and trumpet lilies. The most popular is probably the Asiatic ones, as they don’t require much to grow. Their flowers are well-known for their numerous varieties of color and their lack of fragrance.

The scented ones are the trumpet lilies. They have that recognizable shape and sweet perfume, as well as a vast number of flowers on one single stem. The Oriental ones are the most striking variety. They start blooming near the end of the season, and they produce big and bright flowers with powerful scents that strike your senses.

Full orange lily bloom

Conclusion

Learning how to grow lily flowers is not at all that difficult, and doesn’t require much effort. The plant only asks for a little attention and care and needs few resources to turn your garden into a peaceful heaven full of fragrance and color.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Bonnie Enos

I spend my time in my garden trying to create the greatest outdoor space possible. My garden is my happy place and where you will always find me on a nice day. I take my experience and share it here for you to read!

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