Lilies forum: What do you do to maintain your lily beds?

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Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
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PollyK
Jun 9, 2011 10:50 AM CST
Please tell me everything you can, from fertilizing to dividing, how you do it, and when you do it.

Now that I have some of the fancy lilies that I actually spent more than 30 cents each on, I really want to care for them as best I can. All different kinds. Any input will be appreciated.

Thanks.
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Jun 9, 2011 8:36 PM CST

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This could vary, depending on where one lives. I really don't do much to take care of my lilies. Some people may do more. I don't water during the summer and we don't get summer rain, so they seem to be at least somewhat drought tolerant.

Of course they should be watered in well when you plant them, to settle the soil around them.

As they come up and grow in the beginning they are feeding from the bulb. After they bloom and if I get around to it I will sprinkle a bit of general purpose fertilizer around them to feed the stem roots that grow above the bulb (water in). This helps the bulb for the next year.

I do try to keep the weeds out because they can carry viruses and sucking insects can spread it as easily as if they were virused lilies. I have actually removed weeds that looked virused.

I have read that manures carry fusarium so I avoid using manure where my lilies grow. Of course I don't mix my JIs with my lilies but they are somewhat close. I do use well composted steer manure on my JIs.

As far as mulching goes, I don't have easy access to common mulches but I do have one pine tree that I clean up under and selectively spread the needles around.

If you get alot of early rains and especially hail, you may want to use a fungicide on both sides of the foliage if possible. The hail damages the leaves and makes it easier for botrytis to settle in. Also clean up the dropped foliage in the fall or it can carry the fungus over to the next year and splash up on new leaves when it rains. Spraying is something I seldom get around to in time. This year some of my lilies have bad damage from botrytis.

I think most people, including me, cut the stalk off at the end of the season (leaves are brown and dropping off). I leave about 3 inches to mark the location but remove it in the spring as soon as new growth shows.

Your lilies usually tell you when they need dividing. You will see gobs of little fellows all around the main plant. Sometimes these are easy to remove if you can carefully dig around and pull them out. They are only loosely attached to the mother lily. Otherwise you will need to dig the whole plant in the fall and divide out the offsets.

If you need to move a lily during the growing season you can do it by digging wide around it and lifting it and its soil to the new location. Still, fall is the best time to do this.
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
Seller of Garden Stuff
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PollyK
Jun 10, 2011 7:45 PM CST
Connie, that is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much for the help.

Question. If I'm seeing a lot of new little growth around asiatics, does that mean they will go downhill if I don't divide? They have only been there three years now, but there are a lot of the baby leaves, a lot.

How long do you normally leave your asiatics and La's before dividing? Orientals and most OTs don't multiply that well for me that I think I need to worry about it.

Would you say it's better to dig up the whole clump and divide? I was thinking that way I could put some more fertilizer in the planting hole.
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Jun 10, 2011 9:16 PM CST

Moderator

If you see a lot of new growth it is best to divide as they will be too cramped and compete for food. You may find that some varieties are quite prolific while others never seem to put on bulblets. FYI my most prolific ones are the Pearl series and then George Slate, Morden Butterfly and Katinka. Also Dawn Star. I'm glad that the ones that are most prolific are also my favorites!

I don't think it hurts a whole lot if you don't get around to dividing the same season it looks like it needs it. If you are real busy it can wait till the next year. Sometimes those little leaves will just die away if not given room to grow. But if it is an expensive lily you might just want to separate the bulblets out and propagate them. It's always good to have a little insurance!

I don't think it is necessary to put fertilizer in the hole, at least I don't. Those bottom roots are used for stabilization. I do work in some new organic material prior to replanting. (So yes, dig the whole clump). Most of the feeding occurs via the stem roots that grow on the stem between the soil surface and the top of the bulb. That is why I use a granular slow release fertilizer around the new growth in the spring, then water it in well. B & D used to carry these slow release tabs that I liked. It was so easy to just push one or two into the soil around each bulb and where the feeding stem roots form.

One thing I forgot to mention is if I get around to it early enough (the stem and foliage is still elongating and unfurling in the spring) I apply a foliage fertilizer (Spray-n-Grow micronutrients and Bill's Perfect Fertilizer 6-11-5). I use it on everything in my gardens.
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
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PollyK
Jun 11, 2011 6:24 AM CST
Wonderful information! Thank you!
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Jun 11, 2011 6:50 AM CST

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Pard, as always, you are a wealth of information. This will be a great topic to look back on during the season and beyond. Very nice descriptive lily care!

Tracey
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
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PollyK
Jun 11, 2011 6:57 AM CST
Absolutely!
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
Jun 11, 2011 7:40 AM CST
What a great post Pard.
I saved it in my garden notes.
Lincoln, NE
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Miniature Gardening Butterflies
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Moby
Jun 11, 2011 2:27 PM CST
I'm a pretty lazy gardener ~ I try to keep the weeds down and generally fail. Throw some Osmocote their way and they seem to be happy.
Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
Seller of Garden Stuff
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PollyK
Jun 11, 2011 4:42 PM CST
I'm with you, there, Mary!

Last year I finally gave in and bought Ice Caves, which of course is going for only 15.00 this year, plus Caravan and Quintessence, and some others, and then I got some from Lisa, which I'll never be able to buy again, of course, so I really want to do right by these.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Jun 11, 2011 5:03 PM CST

Moderator

When I fertilize it only seems the weeds get bigger and wilder, so most of the time I use what little compost I have and spoil a few of my most precious (or what looks in desperate need!). Then I end up with tomato volunteers mixing in with my lilies (yes, the ever compostable canning tomato season in for another round).

Weeds, now I could hybridize those. I have all kinds and all cultivars and they pollinate each other, so protecting the crosses might be tricky.

Seriously though! When I saw burdock root at the Farmer's Market for $4/ lb, I thought I would die. I could easily make a living here. I never knew that is was so precious! Sheesh.

Tracey
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
Seller of Garden Stuff
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PollyK
Jun 11, 2011 5:08 PM CST
I tried mulching last year and this with straw, and it worked excellent for me. I have few weeds, and the straw seems to be fine moisture holding wise for the lilies. Not the prettiest mulch to see, though.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
Jun 11, 2011 5:19 PM CST
Tomatoes? we arent going to buy plants next year.
I fertalize lilies with BulbTone.I fert. spring when they appear and then in summer whenthe blooms are gone.
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
Seller of Garden Stuff
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PollyK
Jun 11, 2011 5:34 PM CST
Thanks, Jo. Whatever you're doing is working, that's for sure.
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Jun 11, 2011 6:01 PM CST

Moderator

The problem I have here in the PNW is the winters are generally mild, never ever snow cover, and a couple of warmer winter days now and then gets the weeds growing again. I get at least three different mat forming weeds that really take over. Today I am out working trying to get them away from my JIs!

I wish I could sell all my wild garlic for 4 bucks a pound. So far between this year and last I have filled up 6 Tidy Cat litter bags (20 lb size) with this stuff. Also a cuple of potting soil bags...

Lincoln, NE
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Miniature Gardening Butterflies
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Moby
Jun 11, 2011 10:15 PM CST
We may be on to something here ~ I could make a fortune selling purslane by hawking its benefits
“… these erect, tangy and succulent stems are high in vitamin C. The leaves contain the highest concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids found in land plants. This is 5 times more than spinach and 10 times more than any lettuce or mustards. It is delicious steamed and is popular in stir-fries and Greek salads.”

I read somewhere that if you have a lot of purslane that "...it means you have great soil!!"
Whoopdeedoo. I'm well aware of that and sure as hell don't need to be reminded every year. Grumbling
Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Jun 11, 2011 10:51 PM CST

Moderator

Make that 4 different mat forming weeds; I forgot about the purslane Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
Jun 12, 2011 3:03 AM CST
My cousin extolls the virtues of Lambs Quarters.
We have a new weed here.It looks like strawberry plant and spreads the same way and wont pull.It snaps off at ground level.Its intergrown with Creeping Jenny. I might have to roundup a ton of stuff.
The other menace is a strangling vine that has a morningglory flower. It starts next to the crown of plants and cant be gotten at unless the plant is dug.
I gotta check purslane.
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
Seller of Garden Stuff
Image
PollyK
Jun 12, 2011 6:35 AM CST
The morning glory thingee is Convolvulus arvensis, or commonly called bindweed. That stuff is a pain in the butt.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Jun 12, 2011 7:17 AM CST

Moderator

A person I was on a commission once was attempting to have a campaign to kill off the noxious weed garlic mustard. She always said if it was marked in the literature that it was an aphrodisiac word would spread like wildfire. She said people would never stop pulling it (and what would that hurt?). Hilarious!
Tracey

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