Lilies can be real scene stealers in the garden. Other flowers can’t compete with their beautiful big blooms. The plant comes in a wide variety of incredible colors and some are fragrant. They are grown for their flowers, not their foliage, so they work well planted with full perennials or shrubs. Lilies are perennials, so you can have many years of these beautiful flowers and they are easy to grow and care for. Lilies are also hardy perennials (zones 3- 9) so they can be left in the ground.
WHERE YOU CAN PLANT LILIES
Container Gardens: New breeding technics have created lily varieties that are smaller and fast-growing, which make them ideal for containers. Also, there are some shorter varieties or oriental lilies that will work well in containers. If you are going to plant lilies in a container use at least a 10-inch pot.
Cutting Gardens: Lilies are a wonderful addition to any floral arrangement because they are long-lasting and fragrant. I love adding Stargazers to my floral arrangements. If you grow lilies for a cutting flower you will need to plant them every year as the foliage on the stem produces energy for the bulb next year.
Perennial Gardens: Having a perennial garden with lilies means you will have flowers all summer long. Bloom times vary on the different varieties so be sure to do your research and grow a selection of different ones. There are also different heights to these flowers so plant shorter ones in the front of your flower beds and taller ones in the back. The smaller the bulb size the smaller the height of the lily.
Lilies can be planted in the spring or fall. When you receive your bulbs it is best to plant them right away, but if you can’t store them in a cool, dark location. Make sure your planting site is not exposed to strong winds or you might want to put stakes in the ground when planting, so you can support them. They prefer full sun or sun in the morning with a little bit of afternoon shade.
Planting is easy. Make sure the soil is well-draining. Spring rains are great for the growth of this plant as it needs moisture. The soil can’t be wet or it will rot the bulbs or some other disease can develop. Loosen the soil 8 to 12 inches deep and then dig a hole 6 inches deep. Put the bulb at the bottom of the hole. Cover the bulb with soil and water it if the soil is dry. When planted in a great location, lilies will multiply and come back even better the next year. Plant the bulbs 8 to 12 inches apart in ground. If you plant them in a container, 3 would be the maximum to put in a 10 – 12-inch pot.
Remove spent flowers to keep the plant looking good. If you want to cut the flowers, take off as little of the stem as possible. As previously mentioned, the plant needs the foliage on the stem to produce energy for the bulb for next year.
If your garden soil is good there is no need to fertilize your lilies. If you still want to fertilize them use a balanced liquid or granular fertilizer, such as 10-10-10. When you first see the growth you can do an application of fertilizer. A second application can take place a month later.
TYPES OF LILIES
There are many different types of lilies and some have different looking flowers and bloom times. Grow a mix of these different types and the flowers will bloom all season long.
Asiatic Lilies – These lilies are shortest lilies growing 2 to 3 feet tall. They are ideal for containers. Asiatic lilies are the first to bloom, usually in early summer (May and June). They come in many colors from tropical to bright to bi-colored. They can certainly add a lot of color to your garden or patio.
Easter Lilies – This holiday plant is usually grown indoors. They are forced to bloom around Easter in March and April. In warmer, climates in the US, they can be planted outdoors after blooming has finished.
Martagons – Martagons are also known as Turk’s caps lilies. They bloom early to mid-summer and produce 2 – 4-inch flowers that are downward facing. They will grow 3 – 6 feet tall on slender stems. You will find 12 – 24 blooms on a stem, but there can be more. You will find them in lavender, light orange, pink, deep red, white, and yellow with speckles and freckles.
Oriental Lilies – Oriental lilies typically bloom when Asiatic lilies are fading. These are usually the last lilies to bloom each season. The flowers have a strong fragrance and can grow quite large; up to 4 feet. They come in a wide range of colors and some even have double flowers. A new variety under this category is an Oriental Trumpet Lily, which is a hybrid created with oriental lilies and trumpet lilies. This produced a flower that has upward-facing blooms and is fragrant.
Rubrum Lilies – Rubrum lilies are also known as Japanese Lilies. This type of lily blooms later than other lilies. They resemble the shape of Tiger Lilies with their curved up petals. The colors range from white to deep pink. The flowers have a wonderful fragrance and the pretty shaped flowers are great for cutting gardens. They grow 4 – 5 feet.
Tiger Lilies -These lilies can grow 3 – 5 feet and the flowers are found in orange, pink, and yellow. They are from the Far East but they have naturalized to parts of the US. The petals curve backward and have brown speckled spots. These flowers bloom in the summer. Each stem will grow a dozen or so flowers.
Trumpet Lilies – Trumpet lilies produce many blooms and are fragrant. The bloom of the flower is smaller and looks like a trumpet.
Let us know what type of lilies you have in your garden.