With huge, trumpet-shaped flowers borne on tall stems, lilies in full bloom are the focal point of any perennial garden. Numerous types are available with flower colors that include pink, gold, red, orange, and white. Lilies bloom in early summer to fall, depending on the type. Some are extremely fragrant, and all make good cut flowers for large arrangements
Special features of lilies
Good for cut flowers
Choosing a site to grow lilies
Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. Most lilies prefer slightly acidic soil, except Madonna lilies.
Plant lily bulbs in spring or fall, spacing plants 8 to 18 inches apart, depending on variety. Prepare garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole about 6 inches deep and set the bulb in the hole, pointy end up. Fill the hole with soil and firm it gently. Water thoroughly. If hungry voles or mice are a problem, plant lily bulbs in buried wire cages to protect them from getting eaten.
Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Stake tall varieties to keep them upright. As flowers fade, cut back the flower stalks to the base of the plant.