The Q&A Archives: Bud Drop in Lilies

Question: Some of my oriental hybrid lilies formed buds that just drop off even though the plants were fine. Is this rot? Is it just poor drainage? And will they come back next year?

Answer: Lilies need soil that is constantly moist without being wet. It's almost a contradiction in terms, isn't it?! Although lilies can be plagued with other diseases, you indicate the plants look fine, so drainage is the likely problem. The fact that you questioned your drainage is a good sign that you know your soil, and perhaps know that either they need to be moved, or the soil needs to be improved. Even though lilies prefer not to be disturbed, try lifting them this spring and amend the soil with lots of good organic compost. If corrected, they should come back OK. But they will be doomed in a site that has poor drainage.

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