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Growing Lilies

Plant bulbs immediately on arrival - do not allow bulbs to dry out before planting. They like an area that has semi-shade or full sun, and well-drained, slightly acidic soil with good humus content. Work bulb food into the planting area and cover the bulbs with 10cm (4inches) of good, friable soil. Make sure any growth points are well buried - at least a hand depth. It is a really good idea to place a stake alongside your bulb at planting time if you are planting tall varieties. This ensures that you won't damage the bulb or the roots later on in the season. DO NOT USE sheep, cattle or fowl manure, or lime. Lilies are best left in the same position for several years.

On Going Care

As your lily grows, secure to the stake as necessary. Every three months side-dress with bulb food to assist the development of flower buds. Do not use manure on liliums. Should a fungal or insect (i.e Aphids) infestation occur, general garden sprays such as Yates Shield can be applied.

After Flowering

After flowering has finished leave the flower stem on the plant until it turns brown and the cut it off at ground level. Leaving the flower to wither on the plant allows energy to be drawn back into the bulb, preparing it for the next year's growth and flowering.

Cut Flowers

When cutting flowers to take indoors, remember that the bulb stores the current years nutrients for the next year. For this reason leave one third of the plant when removing flowers. Pick flowers as the buds are just beginning to open. When the flowers are fully open, remove the orange pollen-coated stamens as the pollen can badly stain furniture, clothes, etc... Oriental lilies are beautifully perfumed. However, if you prefer, the Asiatic lilies have no perfume.


Pot grown lilies should be repoted every two years or so. Refresh the mix, divide or upsize the pot if necessary. It is best to leave liliums grown in the ground for 4-5 years. This allows the bulb to grow large, producing more flowers. Always replant immediately. Do not store and do not allow to dry out.

Lilies in Pots

Lilies look fantastic in pots. Choose a large pot with good drainage holes. Use a good quality potting mix. Do not use garden soil in pots. Liquid feed or add Osmocote after 4 weeks. Plant 1 bulb in a15 cm pot, 3 bulbs in 30cm pot. Fertilise each year and re-pot after three years. The new dwarf patio lilies are ideal for planting in pots. Potted specimens need to be fed with a slow release fertiliser and watered regularly.

Imported Lily Bulbs

Some lily bulbs have been  imported from Europe and so will start to grow as soon as they are planted. They will also flower earlier than normal this first year. In very cold areas you may need to protect them from frost. This will only be necessary this year. Once established they will revert to growing later in the season and flower at normal times.


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