The Q&A Archives: Planting Potted Lilies

Question: As a Mother's day gift this year, I was given a potted plant of two stalks of Asiatic lilies. These are my favorite flower, and I would love to grow them outside after their beauty fades, but when is the best time to transplant them? I've been told several things, that when the flowers fade and I trim them, I should keep the plants alive and transplant them in the fall, and also that I should trim the branches and dry out the bulb, and plant only that in the fall. So, I'm very confused and unsure of what I should do.

Answer: You can cut back the flowering stalk when the flowers fade, but leave the foliage alone to yellow and die back naturally. When they've gone into a dormant state you can transplant into your garden.

Asiatic lilies are some of the easiest and most reliable lilies you can grow. You can space them one-foot apart, or as close as six inches for a densely massed effect. Wait until the foliage yellows, then cut back and transplant into soil amended with organic matter to help hold moisture. You can use compost, leaf mold, or even peat moss to amend the bed prior to planting. Lilies need moisture to about 6" deep, so spread a 3"-4" layer of organic matter on the soil surface and dig it in to a depth of 6" - 8" before transplanting your lilies.

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