The Q&A Archives: Lilies lost fragrance

Question: Do you know why after several years of blooming, my oriental lilies lost their fragrance and color? they are very fragrant usually but now have no odor at all. Some used to be pink, yellow, etc. now all are white.

Answer: When lily bulbs bloom they exhaust all of their reserves but as long as they have foliage they create small bulblets around the main bulb. As the bulbs age they may or may not survive over the winter months but the new little bulbs usually do. The new little bulbs are not the same genetic makeup as the hybrid lily and they may or may not keep the color of the parent bulb. It's all in the genetics. I think your lilies reverted over the years. In order to get those beautiful and fragrant blooms you may need to dig the current bulbs and replace them with healthy new hybrids.

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