Lily flower

Tips on how to plant a lily flower garden from scratch.

how to plant a lily flower garden

Planting a lily flower garden from scratch it’s possible. Lilies are not as difficult to grow as one may think. These summer-blooming bulbs are available in different varieties and different colors. They don’t need to be grown in a particular soil type or with a specific pH level, but some lilies don’t like lime. The key to success with lilies is that they must have good drainage. If you have very heavy soil, which holds a lot of water, and doesn’t dry out, then it is best to plant them in pots. They grow best in full sun, but also grow well in partial shade. Your lilies will be very happy if they get at least 6 hours of full sun a day.

It is ideal to plant lilies early in the fall, but they can be planted until mid-spring. The lily bulbs don’t have a protective skin like most flower bulbs, and so have to be handled more carefully. The bigger the bulb, the better. 

how to plant a lily flower garden

Planting lily flower bulbs straight into the ground.

Dig an 8-inch hole for each bulb – Lily flower bulbs like to be planted quite deeply, as they prefer to be cooler in the summer. They also like to be planted in clusters of at least three, but they need to have a reasonable amount of space around them. It’s not a problem if the bulbs have started to produce shoots, they will keep on growing. It is important that the bulbs are healthy. A little mold on the bulb is normal. 

Add some all-purpose fertilizer to the hole and then throw a couple of handfuls of loose soil back into the hole. Place the bulbs – bulb tip pointing upwards – so that they are about 6 to 7 inches deep, or according to the instructions on the packaging. Then cover them with soil, tamp them down and water them.

how to plant a lily flower garden

Planting lily flower bulbs in pots.

Lilies also grow well in pots. Asiatic and double Asiatic lilies are ideal. The pot should be at least 10 inches deep, a medium to large pot is best. Use a deeper pot for taller lilies. Again, it’s very important that the pot drains well. Lilies need moist soil, but the lily bulbs could rot without proper drainage. 

  • First, put a layer of rocks, or broken up ceramic pieces, at the bottom of the pot for drainage.
  • Partially fill the pot, about 1/3,  with good quality compost. (You could use partially sandy soil too, and then add a slow-release fertilizer to the top layer of the soil rather.)
  • Nestle the bulbs in – roughly 2 inches apart from one another. Don’t pack them too close together.
  • Fill the pot with partially sandy soil. For partially sandy soil, mix two-parts potting mix and one-part sand. The bulbs should be about twice or three times the depth of the bulb from the surface.
  • The bulb needs some resistance, so pat the soil down gently to remove air pockets, but don’t let it become too compacted. 
  • Place the pot on a sunny porch, in the garden or in your home.
  • Let the top several inches of soil get relatively dry between each watering.

Nearly all types of lilies are good for cutting and they last for weeks. They’ll fill your home with color and a delightful fragrance. To make the most of garden space and to maximize blooms, try planting lilies with your roses. They fit in perfectly between roses because they are thin and so don’t take up a lot of space. Roses, like lilies, thrive in full sun. Lilies and roses are perennials, which means that they will come back year after year.

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