Growing Lilies

Category Perennials
There are so many beautiful lilies that you can plant to grace your garden, adding color and sometimes heady fragrance. This is a page about growing lilies.


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Botanical Name:


Life Cycle:

perennial bulb

Planting Time:

spring or fall


2' to 8'


full sun for most; protection from strong winds


rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil


zones 3-10

Bloom Time:

mid to late summer

Flower Color:

a wide variety of colors

Foliage Color:



seeds, offsets, division or scales

Suggested Use:

beds, borders and cut flowers

Growing Hints:

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.

Interesting Facts:

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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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 23, 2010

What do you do with lilies when they stop flowering?

By janet from UK


September 23, 20100 found this helpful

Assuming you mean stop flowering for the season (versus stop all together), leave them in place because the stalk helps transfer nutrients from the sun down to the bulb. Only remove the stalk when it has browned. You can always plant a nice groundcover at the base so you have a cleaner look after the flowers fall off.

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September 24, 20100 found this helpful

I just leave my dry stems in the plants/gardens to mark where they will be for next year or till you garden clean up and can locate them. My lilies and peppers and cherry/pear tomatoes share the same garden and flourish greatly since we stuck them there. Something must come from the one that gives to the other. They are both fantastic.

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September 25, 20100 found this helpful

Some lilies bloom only once and then die down. These are called day lilies. Others like the stella d'oro types will continue to bloom provided you pick off the dead flowers.


In each case let them die down. You can clip the very dry plant material if you find it unsightly. Good luck. When in doubt check with a nursery, or fellow gardner.

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November 9, 2006

I am looking for information about how to grow lilies.

Hardiness Zone: 3a

Bev from Minneapolis


By Marcie (Guest Post)
November 13, 20060 found this helpful

Lilies are very easy to grow. I have several kind, naturalizing lilies, day lilies and Asiatic lilies. They like partial sun, well drained soil. They come up year after year and multiply. I don't do anything after I plant them except put stakes beside the large Asiatic lilies to keep them standing. Only bad thing, bunnies like to eat them so I fence mine.

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November 14, 20060 found this helpful

The Lily Nook has a lot of lilies and ship them all over the world. They also have a great website that has many pictures of the lilies that they carry and a lot of articles. This is the address of the page with all the articles. It should answer your question on planting and growing lilies.



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I have some lily plants that have bloomed. They are in an area that I would like to stop watering as I am making that area a little/no water area. I will be moving the plants this fall after they die out. Will there be any harm to the plants by not watering now?

By Mindy Schluchter A.


June 28, 20130 found this helpful

I would say you don't need to water them, but do not deprive them either. The plant remains green after it has bloomed because that is what replenishes the bulb for next year.

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My lilies' leaves are turning brown and the flowers have brown spots on them. Do you know why?

Hardiness Zone: 7a

By Dorothy Saunders from Far Rockaway, NY


July 2, 20090 found this helpful

Lily Thrips (Liothrips vaneeckei) can cause brown spots on the blooms. You can try using an insecticide that is effective against thrips.

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August 24, 2005

What could cause my Tiger Lily to not bloom? I have read about shocking it with a spade plunged into the soil about 1 ft away from it, but that didn't help. It is not so large that it needs to be divided.


Marcella in Canada


August 25, 20050 found this helpful


In the spring as the stem of the lily was close to coming out of the ground, if the lily was stepped on by yourself or an often happens around here as my 2 dogs run through the flowerbeds, the top of the lily will not produce buds. It will have a distorted top or just a top that seems to just end...just will have leaves to the top of the stem.

The bulb will be fine and will actually probably be even bigger because all its energy will go into the bulb instead of producing flowers.

Protect the lily with a little fence or mark it somehow for next year. I wouldn't shock it with a spade. You will disturb the roots and some lilies, for example martegons, need to be left undisturbed for a few years before you will even get the first flowers on them.

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March 11, 2014

My lilies are flowering good, but have a brown sap in the lily's flower.

By brianlewis79

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Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this page.

Photo Description
This is a wild lily that popped up out of nowhere. It hasn't been there in previous years, and we have nothing similar in color on our property. I have seen other wild lilies here in Oklahoma that are orange with brown spots and seem to have the same shape. I'm curious to know how a lily shows up in a place it's never been before - can anyone tell me? I know about naturalization, but there are absolutely no other plants of this type in this area. I thought perhaps an animal such as a gopher, etc., may have dropped or buried a piece of the tuber or root system and that's how it ended up in this new location? I'd love to hear any ideas you'd be willing to share!


Photo Location
Small-town, OK

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Photo Description
These Commander in Chief liliums bloomed the last of June through early July. These lilies get about 2 feet high and are very easy to care for. This photo was taken after a rain shower. The drops on the lilies make them look even prettier!

Photo Location
In my garden in Missouri.

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July 24, 2017

Lily bulbs have overlapping layers, similar to an artichoke, known as scales. If removed and placed in a soil-less medium they will produce new bulblets. Scaling is an inexpensive way to increase the number of lilies in your garden. This is a page about propagating lilies from scales.

A beautiful pink lily.

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July 23, 2017

There are so many varieties of lilies that can be planted in your garden you can often have blooms from spring to fall. This page contains lily photos.

Photo of an orange lily.

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December 8, 2013

This page is about growing stargazer lilies. These hearty, fragrant flowers are quite easily grown from hybrid bulbs.

Stargazer Lilies

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

September 23, 2010

Lilies are easy to grow, being relatively disease and pest free. They like moderate to hot weather and lots of sunshine. They can grow in partial shade if they have 4 to 6 hours of sunshine every day.

They are very hardy and will grow just about anywhere in any type of soil, but will benefit if you add some type of fertilizer. Lilies also love water. You should give them at least 1 inch of water a week, or a good soaking every three days.

Lilies will be one of the hardiest perennials in your garden.


By Sandra


Tips for Growing Daylilies

I agree that daylilies are easy to grow. I have over 100 different kinds of daylilies in my yard with more, I'm sure, in years to come. They are reliable bloomers (as long as the deer do not eat off the buds on the scape).

The picture you are showing is actually, I believe, an Asiatic lily, not a daylily. They are also easy to grow and reliable bloomers (once again, as long as the deer do not eat them). Asiatic lilies do not need the water that a daylily could use, though, or they will rot. (05/26/2005)

By brenda newton

Tips for Growing Daylilies

Daylilies can be almost too hardy. I inherited some rather ugly orange ones when I bought my house. They have literally taken over the garden. I have dug and dug, but still can't seem to get them all out. (Point your hungry deer in my direction, please!) I wish mine were like the beautiful Asiatic lilies pictured above. (05/27/2005)

By Claudia

Tips for Growing Lilies

What you are seeing on the lily stem are called bulblets. Some lilies have lots of bulblets. These are little seeds of the lily. If they drop on the ground, most will overwinter and you will have many more lilies in years to come. If you like the lily and want more, then let them, the bulblets, ripen and fall off, cover with a little soil and leave them.

This is a problem with some lilies. I had to literally sift through a 10 by 10 foot bed to clean it up from one of the lilies I used to have. I still am getting the occasional lily coming up but now I will zap it with Roundup because I do not want that lily in my yard anymore. It's like an invasive lily. It was pretty and I did win the best lily in our garden club show in summer one year, but...

You can let the lily bloom and then as soon as it is done blooming cut the stem to about 8 inches so it still has leaves left to replenish the bulb for next year, but no bulblets left to reproduce for you. (06/08/2005)

By brenda newton

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