The Q&A Archives: Lilly Planting

Question: Is it too late in the season (Zone 4-5) to plant Oriental Lilly bulbs and still get a bloom this year?


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. Once planted the bulbs will develop roots and you should see a green sprout emerging from the earth in a few weeks. Best wishes with your lilies.

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