The Q&A Archives: Oriental Lily Care And Pruning

Question: I recently purchased an oriental lily, which is beautiful and had 9 buds. Most have opened and it is has the most wonderful fragrance. I want to know how to care for it. How do I remove the flowers when they are done with the bloom? Will it produce more flowers or is it a one time a year blooming season? Also should I plant it in the garden or will it be best in a pot? Will I need to take the bulb out of the ground? I really need some help to care for this plant and would like to keep it around for a long time. Also if I can plant it would it live well with ferns?
We are just starting to redo our front and back yards and are hoping that we can incorporate this plant into our landscaping. However we don't know too much about it and could use any help that you could give. Thank you in advance.

Answer: To promote prolonged bloom, gently remove each spent flower as the petals begin to fade. This will stop seed production and redirect energy into the remaining flowers. Eventually all of the flowers will bloom and die, at which point you can cut down the flowering stem. Your plant will need to go through a dormancy (resting) period before it can bloom again. You can leave your lily in the pot, or plant it in the ground, where it will continue to grow all year around. When the foliage begins to turn yellow, reduce watering and allow the foliage to die down on its own. After the bulb has rested for a few weeks to a few months, it will begin to produce new foliage. As soon as you see new green sprouts, begin watering regularly. A new flowering stem will develop, and your plant will delight you with lovely, fragrant flowers.

Here are some general growing tips for lilies:
Where summers are cool and overcast, you can plant in full sun; otherwise, choose a spot that gets filtered sun, light shade, or afternoon shade. Locating lilies among low-growing plants is a good way to keep their roots shaded. Provide deep, loose, well-drained, fertile soil. Before planting, work in lots of organic matter to a depth of 1 foot. After planting, mulch with 2-3 inches of organic matter to conserve moisture, keep soil cool, and reduce weed growth. Because lilies never completely stop growing, provide moisture all year, just remember to reduce the amount of water you apply during the resting period.

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