Lilies forum: Reason for lily bulb rot?

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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
May 11, 2015 8:37 PM CST
I had two stargazer Lily bulbs, one in a pot the other in the ground.

The one in the ground was rotted with a single stalk trying to grow but it literally pulled right out from the center of the bulb leaving a hole. The rest of the bulb was rotten and mushy in the middle.

The one in the pot was all roots and no bulbs! Last year it was a huge, healthy bulb.

The one in the pot had poor drainage so perhaps that could of caused it. But in the ground was good drainage so it makes no sense.

Last year both plants were big and had multiple blooms. I did fertilize very often all year, perhaps I over fertilized and the plants were absorbing the bulb for leaf nutrients and the winter did them in with little or no scales left?

When in the season do you fertilize Lilys and stop?
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
Image
riverman123
May 11, 2015 9:24 PM CST
I typically fertilize our 50+ lily's with granular bulb/bloom food just as new shoots emerge. then once again as the "eyes" appear. then a few times with diluted liquid fish fertilizer once all the flowering is done- usually until mid/late august, providing all the nutrients they need for huge bulbs and huge looms the following year.

I would have say your bulbs rotted from issues dealing with excess moisture, on some level. I live in Seattle where it rains 9 months a year and we rarely have rotting bulb problems, so im a little stumpted here. Sad perhaps there was something else going on as well...? we have lilys in pots that we leave outside all year long in regular potting soil, as well as having bulbs in the ground, and rarely do we not have one come back. the lily's in the pic below have been in that cedar box for several years in a row, without so much as even touching them- no rotting problems what so ever... at the time this pic was taken they had been in there for probably three years in a row. we finally dug them up this year to divide them. they were in perfect condition. sorry I wasn't much help. I just don't have much experience with rotting issue because we don't get it too bad here. perhaps someone else can lend you a little insight...


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[Last edited by riverman123 - May 12, 2015 4:54 AM (+)]
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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
May 12, 2015 7:51 PM CST
Keith--most likely the rot was caused by too much fertilizer, too often. You don't say what you were using but generally what's recommended for lilies is 5-10-5 to a balanced 10-10-10. Lilies don't require as much feeding as most fast growing annuals do. So, fertilizing too much, especially one with high nitrogen can weaken the bulb and make it susceptible to attack by soil borne pathogens that cause basil plate rot.

Follow Jason's recommendations for feeding times; it's a good one, although the fish emulsion can be substituted with a light application of 5-10-5, if you wish.

Be sure all your pots have good drain holes and don't forget to tip your pots sideways in winter for drainage because if left upright, those drain holes freeze shut resulting in a pot of freezing/thawing/freezing/thawing mud come the spring thaw. That will kill your bulbs, for sure!
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
May 12, 2015 8:27 PM CST
Thanks, I will be sure to use much less fertilizer now!
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
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riverman123
May 12, 2015 8:52 PM CST
Lorn - that's a good tip; leaning your pots to help drainage. I never would have thought of that!

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