Lilies are hardy, easy to grow bulbs that steal the show wherever they’re planted. Other perennials just can’t compete with their big blooms, amazing colors and wonderful fragrance. There are several types of lilies and each has its own look and bloom time. By planting an assortment of different lilies, you can enjoy having these beautiful flowers in bloom all summer long.
WATCH- click to watch a video about planting lilies
START WITH A BETTER PLANT
When you compare two lily bulbs side by side, it’s easy to see a difference in quality. Lily bulbs are measured in centimeters. A 16/18 cm bulb (shown on the right) will grow into a stronger plant with more flowers than a smaller, 14/16 bulb (on the left). Longfield Gardens supplies large, 16/18 cm lily bulbs so you can enjoy the biggest, brightest blooms.
SHADE AND SUN: Lilies perform best in full sun, though they also grow well in partial shade.
ZONE: Lilies are winter hardy in zones 4-9, and suitable for growing in zones 2-11.
WHEN TO PLANT: Lily bulbs can be planted in fall or spring for summer flowers.
WHERE TO PLANT LILIES
PERENNIAL GARDENS: Want to keep your perennial garden looking colorful all summer long? Plant lilies! There are lilies that bloom in early summer, midsummer and late summer. The best lilies for perennial gardens include Asiatics, double Asiatics, LA Hybrids, Trumpets, Orientals and OT Hybrids. Plant Asiatic lilies and the shorter varieties of Oriental lilies toward the front of borders; other types toward the back.
CUTTING GARDENS: Lilies are long lasting cut flowers and many of them add fragrance as well as beauty to a bouquet. Planting lily bulbs in a cutting garden ensures you will have plenty of flowers for bouquets without sacrificing the lilies in your flower gardens. The best lilies for cutting gardens are Asiatics, double Asiatics, LA Hybrids, Orientals and OT Hybrids.
CONTAINER GARDENS: Asiatic and double Asiatic lilies are ideal for pots and planters. Some of the shorter Oriental lilies, such as ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Tom Pouce’ are also well suited to containers. For best results, plant lily bulbs in containers that are at least 10” deep.
PLANTING IS AS EASY AS 1-2-3
1. Loosen the soil to a depth of 8 to 12” and then dig a 6” deep hole.
2. Put the lily bulb in the bottom of the hole.
3. Cover the bulb with soil and water it in if the soil is dry.
Most flower bulbs have a protective skin. Lily bulbs don’t have this natural protection, so they need to be handled more carefully and should be planted as soon as possible. If you see a little mold on the outer scales, this is normal and no cause for worry.
When lilies are planted in a location that suits them, they will multiply and come back in greater numbers each year. The bulbs grow best in well drained, fertile soil. During spring and early summer, the plants need moisture, but if the soil is too wet it can rot the bulbs or lead to disease problems. In gardens, lilies usually grow just fine without any extra water. If you're growing them in pots, let the top several inches of soil get relatively dry between waterings.
Lilies have foliage on their stems rather than at the base of the plant. This means they don’t take up a lot of room in the garden. But for healthy growth, lilies should still be given their own space so they don't have to compete with the roots and foliage of neighboring plants.
If you are growing lilies for bouquets, consider planting them in a cutting garden. That way you can plant fresh bulbs each spring and cut as many stems as you want.
CARING FOR LILIES AFTER THEY BLOOM
As the blossoms fade, simply remove the spent blooms to keep the plants looking neat. If you want to remove the entire flower cluster, cut off as little of the stem as possible. Lilies use the foliage on their stems to produce the energy they'll need for next year's flowers.
Lilies are hardy perennials and in zones 4-9 the bulbs can be left right in the garden for the winter.
Over time, most lily bulbs multiply and the plants grow into large clumps that produce multiple stems. The bulbs don't mind being crowded and it's rarely necessary to divide them.