The Q&A Archives: Plating Lilly Bulbs

Question: I am starting a garden this year and I bought a few differnt lilly bulbs...Oriental Hybrid and Calla lilly....I won't be planting them for about 2 or so weeks I was told to keep them in the refrigerator until I am going to plant them...Is this true? Also I am reading that you should plant them in Fall so if I am planting them now will they come up for summer?

Answer: Lily bulbs are never completely dormant so they must be planted as soon as possible. If for some reason you are unable to plant your bulbs immediately, then keep them refrigerated until you can plant them. Store them in a poly bag in slightly damp peat moss in the crisper of the fridge.

Lilies require direct sunlight for part to all of the day. They also require well drained soil. A medium sandy loam soil with a reasonable amount of humus is ideal. Heavy soils can be lightened with course sand and peat moss. If using manure make sure it is well rotted and use as top dress only, otherwise it can cause damage to the bulbs by lowering their disease resistance.

Most lilies should be planted to a depth of 6 inches and spaced 12-16 inches apart. Trumpets and Orientals should be planted to a depth of 8 inches for extra winter protection. Place your lily bulb with its roots down and scale points up. A little bone meal may be added to the bottom of the planting hole. Cover with your soil mixture and pack the soil in well around your bulb. It is important to thoroughly water your bulbs in after planting, so the soil settles around the bulb to prevent any air pockets.

Your bulbs won't require daily watering but when watering be sure to water deeply enough to reach the bulb. Avoid wetting the leaves. Excessive watering will cause your bulb to rot.

A light to moderate fertilizer (20-20-20) can be applied just before flowering and after blooming is completed to keep bulbs healthy. Do not fertilize too late in the fall as bulbs can become too soft and rot.

Calla lilies should be planted from fall through early spring. Set the rhizomes 4 inches deep and one foot apart. These plants thrive in moist, even boggy soils.

If you plant your bulbs now (or even within a week or two), they should bloom for you this summer.


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