spring or fall
2' to 8'
full sun for most; protection from strong winds
rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil
mid to late summer
a wide variety of colors
seeds, offsets, division or scales
beds, borders and cut flowers
Bulbs generally available during the spring or fall. If you're buying bulbs in the fall, make sure you get them in the ground before it freezes so they have time to establish some roots. Plant bulbs from 6 to 9 inches deep (smaller bulbs slightly closer to the surface). They tend to be voracious eaters and will appreciate a little 5-10-5 fertilizer or wood ash worked into the soil around their clumps. The scaly structure of lily bulbs puts them at a great risk for root rot so sites having heavy clay soils need to be amended or avoided. New plants will produce flowers in 2 to 4 years. In the fall, mulch bulbs well in zones with harsh winters. The easiest way to propagate lilies is to dig them up and remove the offsets that form around the base of the main clumps. These can be cleaned up and replanted in the garden or in pots. Plant them at a depth of twice their height.
Lily bulbs never really go dormant. If you purchase them or order them through the mail, plan on planting them quickly. If you can't keep them in the refrigerator (or at 40ºF) until you can get them in the ground.
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