The Q&A Archives: Water Lilies After It Dies Back To The Ground?

Question: Once my lily dies back to the ground should I keep watering it, when should I start watering after winter?

Answer: True lilies (lilium) generally maintain a tall stalk with foliage for the entire growing season, until it is killed back by frost in the fall. Once the top is killed back there should be no need to water unless the fall is exceptionally dry. The plants do best with their tops in the sun and shade over their roots. They need a well drained location (not soggy) with average moisture; in wet soil they will rot over the winter. A new or established plant would possibly need watering to keep the soil somewhat moist but not sopping wet. In the heat of summer this might be once a week unless it has rained, by fall with its cooler temperatures and rainfall you might not need to water at all. In spring watering is not usually necessary. Use your finger to check the soil and see if it is damp or not. A layer of several inches of organic mulch such as shredded bark can help keep the soil shaded, cool and moist. In the spring you should see new growth tips emerging and the plants will elongate. Again use your finger to see if the soil is moist or not, and let that be your guide for watering.

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