The Q&A Archives: Asiatic lilies not doing well

Question: I am sorry to say that I did not purchase my asiatic lilies from you. I have learned the hard way that HD ranks supreme to the

Answer: Thanks for the Kudos! But before we take too much credit you should know that growing Asiatic lilies in Florida is a touchy subject. Because of their picky habits, they usually are treated as annuals. You purchase them in full bloom, keep them in the pots which you bury in the garden, and when they are finished flowering most gardeners toss them and purchase new ones. This is not to say that with some special care you cannot keep them growing and blooming, but they have some specific requirements.

Asiatic Lilies like the ever-popular ultra-fragrant Stargazer must go dormant to regenerate for the another growing season. For that, they need COLD weather. The thermomenter MUST sit in the 40s for weeks for an effective dormant period.

If you don't have that outside where your lilies are growing, you must find it in your house.

That said, many Florida Lily Lovers dig their Lilies up and store them for several weeks in their kitchen refrigerator. It's the only way do this. But they love those Lilies so much they don't even think about it as being a chore.

So yes, you can grow them in your garden, and your site sounds splendid. It's just missing the cold air factor. You just have to plan on un-planting them around October 1 and moving them indoors to your fridge.

When you replant in January or February, which should be very easy since your ground won't freeze, check to make sure you have added plenty of organic matter and that you do indeed have excellent drainage.

Peatmoss is a good amendment because it tips the pH down, something all Lilies appreciate. Most so-called 'tropical' Lilies still need a cold season to survive your balmy, beautiful Florida weather.

For right now all you need to do is water your lily every 3-4 days and wait for the foliage to yellow and die down on its own. When the foliage is dead you can dig the bulbs and store them in paper bags in your refrigerator for 14-16 weeks. Then replant them in your garden. Plan on repeating this process each year and you should be able to enjoy your lilies for many years to come.

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