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Lily Basics

 

Lilies will reward you for many years with their brilliant blooms and hardy growth

Lilies are easy-grow plants and most are suitable for the beginning gardener. You can keep them in - or transplant from - pots or let them come up naturally each year in the garden or landscape.

By choosing the right combination of lily species, you can enjoy flowering from spring through fall. Asiatics will bloom early, trumpets start in mid-summer, and Oriental hybrids will carry into early fall. The colors, textures, and petal shapes will give you an amazing selection of fresh bouquets for indoors as well.

All lilies require well-draining soil with absolutely no water pooling after a rain. Lilies do extremely well in raised-bed plantings for this reason. They also do best in sun, but many species can thrive in partial shade.

Plant lily species in groups for the most spectacular displays. Not too closely together as each year they will become fuller. They need air circulation as well.

Bulbs should be planted in late fall or winter. Heavy mulch will keep them protected until spring. Then, the mulch should be carefully removed. They can be stored if the ground is frozen, but do not let them dry out. Keep them in a very cool spot (about 28 degrees) and in the dark.

In regions that have hot summers, plant the bulbs deep to keep them cooler. About 6 inches is typical.

When a bloom is spent, cut the stalk at the flower base. Never disturb surrounding leaves. At the end of the season, when the leaves have turned brown, then you can trim back completely.

Smaller lily species (many of the Asiatics) will grow in containers. Plant bulbs deep and spaced about 2 inches apart. To sprout, keep the pots in a cool spot. If you're using a large pot, you may be able to get a second season growth or simply transfer to the garden.

Lilies have few pests, but inspect often for slugs and aphids.

 

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