Lilies are considered by many to be the most lovely additions to your home garden. To make things better, they’re not that hard to grow, either. In this guide, we’ll walk through the necessary steps to grow Calla lilies, Daylilies, Water lilies, and Easter lilies.
Let’s get into it.
Selecting Your Lilies
This is where you spend some time picking the plants you want by their form, height, and color. Height is usually the first characteristic you look for. Next, think about where you will plant them, what other plants they will be next to, and their relative heights. Lilies in bloom are definitely not small, and they grow in a bunch at the end of the stalk, so you want to make some room for that as well.
If your lilies are too tall and planted in front of shorter plants, you might block them out altogether. So, think about what your final look would be – tall lilies towering above a bed of short flowers or short lilies next to a big bush – any choice is fine as long as you’re happy with the result.
The next point is the color. You want to remember that some of them are blushed with a secondary color and could even have a speckled appearance, so you’ll want to color-coordinate that with your other flowering plants in case they’re sharing a bed! You might also want to consider the fact that different variants bloom at different times during the season.
Lastly, choose the form you want; you might want to spread out some cupped or wide-open ones in a particular place and have tiger lilies growing elsewhere.
Plant Your Lilies
Once you’ve got a blueprint for your plant locations and how you want to combine them, it’s time to start planting the bulbs. You can even think about putting them in batches with a gap of a week or two in between so you’ll have a constant bloom of that variety in some part of your landscape.
When you finally get down to planting them, be sure to give them adequate spacing – about 10 inches should do it, so the soil is sure to have enough aeration when they start to grow taller. Another point to keep in mind is to have them all facing the same direction when you place them in the hole: one side is typically rounded or flat, while the other will be more pointed; the pointed end should face up since that’s the point of growth for the stem.
Also, be sure to get your planting done in the fall so they’ll have the entire cold season to really dig their roots into the ground and be ready to grow tall and strong when spring comes round, or even as late as the middle of the summer.
You might see some of the eager plants poking their heads out ahead of the final frost, but don’t worry about them – they should be able to survive the frost just the same as the others.
Enjoy Your Lilies
When cut, lilies are beautiful in a vase. Since they’re so easy to care for, just snip the tops and leave the stems as they are. The stalks will help them get the nourishment they need for the next season.
Calla Lilies: The Flower For Every Occasion
Calla Lilies are a variety of the large family of blooming flowers called Araceae, namely, of the Zantedeschia genus, which has six other species also known by the same name. Some of them have unique common names, such as the white arum, the common arum, the pink arum, the yellow or golden arum; the rest are all generically called Calla Lilies.
All the species come from Africa and typically grow in the wild between South Africa and the northern part of Malawi. They are usually just called arum lilies and are often confused with the Calla genus, which has only one species, the Callus Palustris, which grows in the colder temperate zone as found in Europe, the northern parts of Asia as well as in North America. These are not actually lilies, as some think.
Calla Lilies are what are known as rhizomatous members of the plant world. They can grow as high as 2.5 meters, with the leaves measuring about 45 centimeters. Calla in Greek means beautiful, and you can see why these lilies have fawned overall around the world for the way they beautify any setting.
In cold places, they’re usually grown indoors or inside a greenhouse where the temperature is more suited to their needs.
When growing Calla lilies, be sure that the soil is salt-free, as they’re extremely sensitive to any salt content. Once you get the soil right and provide lots of sunlight and water, you’ll find that they’re fast-growing plants that are quite tough. They need a good gradient so water can drain off easily, as well as direct sunlight or a lightly shaded area. The best temperatures for the Calla lily to grow are those above 70 F.
When planted outdoors, no additional fertilizers are usually needed, but make sure they’re planted with rich topsoil, to begin with. If they’re planted indoors, on the other hand, then a regular regimen consisting of liquified plant food is a must. There are two ways to make sure they get a proper supply of plant food: the first way is to mix a weak solution and use that to water them every day, the second being to space out slightly stronger solutions every three weeks or so. Make sure that it’s not too strong even with the second approach.
Once the blossoming season is done, let the plant mature naturally, being sure to snip off the flowers as they start to show signs of withering. You can also gradually reduce their water supply until you see the leaves turning black. The tubers will need about three months to recuperate and start their blooming cycle again. If they’re potted, then you’ll need to plan for repotting after a period, since they grow quite fast.
Spring Planting Lily Bulbs
People are excited whenever it is Spring. Who wouldn’t? People that are into gardening find Spring as an exciting season. If you are considering planting too, take into consideration Asiatic and Oriental Lily bulbs. As soon as the soil is ready, you may start setting the bulbs in the ground.
These tips will hopefully help you have a successful planting activity. When you plant the bulbs, make sure that the place where you will plant them should have good drainage. These bulbs dislike being wet all the time. Full exposure to the sun is also required. Partial shading may also do well with these bulbs but they have a tendency to look for the sun thus they stretch out more. When the bulbs are placed in shaded areas they also have softer growth thus you could have difficulty in making sure that you get beautiful flowers out of these bulbs.
The rule of thumb in planting is clustering the bulbs in groups of three but you also need to make sure that the bulbs are six to seven inches away from each other when they are of the small variety. If you have the larger type of lilies then you need to make sure that they are twelve inches apart. It is a known fact that lilies have a tendency to grow very quickly and spread out fast. It is therefore needed for the bulbs to be planted three times their thickness.
Generally, this is translated as six inches deep. If you plan to plant them on sandy soil, make them deeper by an inch. Another method that you can use is digging up a foot deep then bring it up to six inches with the use of organic materials or compost so that the soil will have additional nutrients and the drainage will also improve.
You can also add a teaspoon of bone meal as this also works great on the lily bulbs. Additional fertilization is not needed at this time. The reason why the depth is considered while planting is because of the stalk wherein it needs the full support of the soil as it becomes loaded with blooms that are so beautiful.
If there is already growth at the surface, water it with fertilizer. Any type of fertilizer for standard flowers will work great. The bulb alone is already powerful because it can support and feed the plant without anyone’s help. The additional fertilizer is just reinforcement for the plant to become stronger.
When the weather becomes warm, weeds start to grow. Just make sure to remove them and keep the soil moist and cool. When you remove those weeds, you need to make sure that they will not break the stems of the lilies. These plants are actually resistant to drought, but it will definitely help if you water down up to six inches during summer. Fertilizing your lilies during summer is a smart practice to do when it is that season already.
After the flowers have bloomed, remove them. When you do this procedure, you help your lilies create the energy it has in building the bulb from within. Never remove the leaves at this stage and never cut the plant. The stalk and the leaves are making sure that they work hard in creating food that is stored in the bulb.
When the flowers bloom, they are sure to look amazing. The Orientals, on the other hand, have this lovely scent that you will love so much. You do not only have amazing flowers but you also have a valid excuse to go out and do some gardening.
No Over Crowding: Daylilies
It is not difficult to plant Day Lilies. In fact, they are the easiest and the most care-free plants around. Growing up Day Lilies is very easy because these plants can handle any condition. These plants manage to grow well despite the absence of absolute care from people but if you give them the proper conditions for growing, they respond eagerly.
Before you start planting Day Lilies, find out first what these plants want and what can possibly destroy them. To start with, Day Lilies love the sun. This means you need to provide as much sun as you can. If you do not have the time and space to do this, partial shading of the plant will do.
The rule of thumb when it comes to daylight care with Day Lilies is that they should have at least 6 hours of sunlight on a daily basis. There are Day Lilies that are of the darker variety, and these could benefit well for partial shading when it is very hot.
Soil Quality for Daylilies
The soil is also an important factor in the selection process. Different types, such as the sandy to heavy clay types, will help you plant Day Lilies successfully. The pH of the soil is also different.
You might want to consider improving the quality of the soil. Doing this is very important especially if the soil that you have is mostly made of clay or sand. If this is the case, you can always add something to it like peat moss, compost, or even humus. Adding these things will definitely make the soil more viable for growing Day Lilies. If you have the sandy soil type, adding up peat moss, compost or humus could actually add the retention of water.
Some of us have a tendency to put other plants and mix them with Day Lilies. This could actually cause root competition and getting enough nutrients and water could become a competition. Avoid planting Day Lilies beside shrubs or trees.
If the Day Lilies have been planted already beside these then you can help these plants by providing fertilizer and water. This will surely add up to what the other plants might have taken. There are some instances wherein Day Lilies have adapted to the trees and environment because of proper shading such as the ones in the South wherein Day Lilies grow well beside Pine trees.
Daylilies Improve the Landscape
Day Lilies are also good to plant in order to improve the landscape. It is recommended that you plant Day Lilies during Spring or Fall. When you decide to plant them during Spring, make sure that it is done after the grown thaws. It is also important to plant them when the danger of getting frosted is gone. On the other hand, planting them during Fall should be made several weeks before we get to experience freezing weather conditions.
Doing some soil work is important before you start planting those beautiful Day Lilies. Use organic matter such as rotted manure or compost. You should also consider putting some space in between these Day Lilies. A distance of 16 to 24 inches will do for small flowers while those that are large in size should be between 18 and 30 inches. For closed beds or borders, the distance should be between 12 and 18 inches.
If you have Day Lilies that grow very fast, these can become too crowded. Do not plant them very close to each other. When the bloom decreases, divide your Day Lilies for better care.
What About Water Lilies
It is an amazing view when you have a garden pool that is filled with water lilies. Imagine spectacular flowers that bloom every time the sun greets them and the closing of these flowers at night. This event is simply wonderful.
A lot of gardeners are fearful of taking care of water lilies but if you choose to grow the European variety then you will realize that these are actually not difficult to grow.
Water lilies that are tropical in nature prefer to grow in a warm climate. These plants will grow best if they are placed directly under the sun while they bloom with flowers all throughout the year. The tropical variety of water lilies are scented and they grow on tall stems with different colors such as pink, yellow, cream, white, apricot, shades of blue, and purple.
European Variety of Water Lilies
If you have the chance to grow the European variety of water lilies, take note that you will be able to grow these regardless of the climate. Putting them under the sun is still the best position but when the climate is very hot, shaded places will also do well with water lilies. These plants produce flowers with different colors such as blue, purple, yellow, pink, cream, and white. There are also different sizes. There are the small ones and there are also those with large leaves and flowers.
These water lilies should be planted on soil that is mixed with loam, rotted cow manure, bone meal, and fertilizer pellets. Mix them at the bottom part of the soil.
Bigger varieties grow well that are planted in squat pots which are about 20 to 25cm in diameter. It is advisable to put extra holes at the lower part of the pots. This helps water lilies grow better because they prefer their roots that are not contained.
For larger ponds or swimming pools that have been converted into a garden pool, try planting different varieties of two or three and place them in larger pots to create a beautiful display.
Planting Size of Water Lilies
Water lilies should be planted with a depth of 20 to 40cms as compared to the miniature collection that should have been planted 10 to 18cms higher than the pots.
When you soak the soil in the pots, make sure it is done well before you put them in the water. Make sure also that you cover the top of the pots with the use of stones. Putting these things come in handy because you help prevent the soil from getting out of the pots. You will see that the stems and leaves will eventually find their way to the surface of the pot or soil. If you planted water lilies in small pots, there is a need for you to divide them every two or three years.
Another important element in the pond is the fish. They help in the oxygenation process of plants in water. If you have tropical water lilies and you have Koi carp, do not put them in one place because the fish will eat the water lilies. A Koi has been observed to leave the hard types of water lilies, especially for those fish with sizes up to 10cm only or less.
Putting some stones around the plants will also help prevent these plants from being uprooted by the fish. If you like to grow water lilies that are in deep half barrels or those that are placed in tubs surrounded by heavy plastic, you may do so.
Do not forget to remember that the pots should always be submerged and water lilies are not allowed to dry out too. Have a pleasant and wonderful gardening.
Easter Lilies And Everyone’s Top Question
With Easter right around the corner, everyone’s scrambling to have that urgent question about Easter lilies answered – can I grow them in my garden instead of indoors? The simple answer: “Yes, you can.” Just like any other bulb, you can either take them and replant them; some will die anyway, so it’s worth the effort to work with the others so you can enjoy them for several years.
Once you find that your Easter lily blossom is starting to fade, cut off the stem as deep as you can go and put the pot on a window sill where it will get plenty of sunlight while keeping the soil slightly moist and nourishing it with plant food once a week. Once the frost has completely passed, you can move the bulbs outdoors. It’s as simple as putting it in a hole that lets the top be at least three inches below the soil surface.
Once it’s in the ground, shovel some peat moss and compost into the hole and keep the soil loose. Do be sure to make the hole large enough to give room for the roots to spread out properly, and give a minimum of 18 inches between bulbs for the same reason. Now put more soil back into the hole, leaving the leaves out – they will likely rot if you cover them at this point.
Once the leaves have yellowed and then fade completely, you can fill up the hole with the rest of the soil. Once the job is done, water it well so that it becomes a kind of mud hole, but be sure there’s no trapped air around where the bulb has been placed.
The Sunlight Trick
In case you notice that the foliage dies right after you plant the bulb, then cut it off right to the level of the bulb and then fill the hole again. After you backfill, make sure you water the area again thoroughly, and you might actually see some young leaves peeping out of the hole in a while.
The trick behind having your Easter lilies outside in the garden is to keep the tops in direct sunlight – and lots of it – while keeping the roots shaded. This is called giving them hot tops and cold feet. You also need good drainage for the bulb to survive, so make sure you have your garden sloped, or else the water stagnation will rot them, wasting all your earlier efforts.
Don’t forget one important point: when you plant it for the first time, you are likely to see the bloom around the middle of the summer but it will take another year for the bulb to bloom again. Just remember the main tips – don’t cut off the foliage until they’re yellow and properly faded, and don’t grow them near other plants either, because the leaves that will form during the next season will stretch out and get as much sunlight as they can.
Why Lilies Can Enhance Your Garden?
Most varieties of lilies are resistant to most common plant diseases and fairly hardy. In terms of bloom times, the Asiatic variety does so anytime in July or August, with the orientals following shortly thereafter. Lily bulbs are great for the fact that they afford the average gardening buff many types of flowers over the period of the season, making their personal green space a veritable Eden of blooming lilies.
If you choose the right mix of early, mid, and late-season cultivars, you’ll practically have your lilies in bloom all year-round. Since they don’t require intensive care, one bulb can eventually yield several stems that flower in a cluster, creating a stunning effect for your garden. The bulbs are best put into the ground in the spring or during the fall.
Since lilies come in a range of colors, placing them in groups in different spots around your garden can add splashes of brilliant color when they all start blooming. You could even consider charting out a design for when they do, planting them in a specific pattern or shape that the blooms will form. Maybe picking red, white, and blue blooms for the July holidays would be a great idea? Or warmer colors for spring or summer?
Combining Lilies with Other Seasonal Flowers
You could even think of combining them with other seasonals like cypresses or wildflowers, and even banana trees or maybe tulips. Use them to border your vegetable patch, or even take them indoors if you don’t have enough garden space and use pots to line your front deck. How about water lilies for your rock pool so friendly fish and frogs can take shelter and have a hang-out spot?!
If you plan to do this last with the water lilies, don’t forget that they don’t do well with heavy garden soil or, alternately, any mix that might have lighter components that will start to float (peat, vermiculite, and perlite, etc.). You will need to use topsoil for potting them and get some fertilizer pellets specifically meant for aquatic flora.
Choosing lilies is probably the hardest thing about deciding to use them in your garden; with more than 100 different varieties available, the types, heights, and colors are as varied as they are profuse in their growth.
Not only are lilies known for their use as ornamental plants, but did you know that they star in several literary works from around the globe? Then there’s aloe vera, which’s about as famous as any plant gets! Even the bible makes mention of these wonderful plants for their medicinal properties. Christ’s body was said to have been anointed with bitter aloes before it was buried.
What About Care For Fresh Cut Lily Flowers
Lilies are probably the most grown flowers around the world after roses. Across the world, in nearly every continent and climatic condition, the genus known as Lilium is home to 110 unique species of this flowering plant.
With the addition of several artificial hybrids concocted by horticulturalists the world over, that number grows to an astonishing level. Florists are now beginning to use fresh-cut versions of the lily in their line of work too, though the plant has been used for centuries as a garden ornament. Lilies are now available across a wide range of price and quality, not to mention variety.
The quality of a fresh-cut lily flower leans heavily on how large or high-quality the bulb is.
Like the other famous bulb flower, the tulip, Holland, and the state of California have been the hubs for the lily for many years. However, in recent times, Columbia and Costa Rica have been improving the quality to an extent that they still can’t complete with the premium bulbs from the other two regions, but are relatively cheaper and not as poor in terms of quality, either. The resulting florists’ market is tiered by color and pricing for the inexpensive varieties, and by name for the premium varieties. For a typical flower shop, however, the run-of-the-mill variety is quite a lucrative business investment, depending on their purpose of use.
Lily Quality Index
The grading of lilies is usually done by the bud count or that of the flowers on each stem; typically, starting at 1-2 and going up to 5-6. The quality index that this results in, however, is only a rough measure. The actual quality of a lily is all in the bulb, its appearance, its quality, and its subsequent yield; larger, higher-quality bulbs are naturally more expensive and will yield a similar quality of flower – larger and of better quality.
The prior consideration is how these are grown in the first place – this will determine factors like color, the quality of the foliage and the blooms, and how long the plant will survive. The California and Holland varieties are typically grown in controlled-climate greenhouses, while their Costa Rican and Columbian cousins are grown in open fields.
The wide variety of lilies available at the average florist’s shop aren’t just restricted to pink and white anymore; rich, vibrant, dark purple Sumatras side by side with the more subtle yellow and white Conca D’Or or even the perennial Easter lily are all quite commonplace today. The outward-growing or branching variety makes perfect fodder for the artistic florist to show off their decorative skills.
How to Care For Fresh Cut Lilies
- When choosing stems, make sure that at least two of the buds show strong coloration. With green buds, you can’t be sure that they will blossom properly or have the right colors. Avoid buying stems that are already in full bloom, as these are easily damaged when transporting them.
- Lilies are very sensitive to ethylene so it’s best to treat them with ethylene inhibitors.
- Make a slanting cut to remove about an inch off the bottom of the stem, and then strip the foliage off the bottom half. Next, make a solution of tepid water and flower nutrient and place the stems in the solution until they reach the required bloom.
- Cover the plant with a clear polythene bag to increase humidity if you want the blossoms to appear sooner rather than later. A good amount of indirect sunlight will also help good coloration and a faster blossoming time.
- If you want to keep your clothes or furniture, make sure the anthers are removed, but carefully.
These are the top care tips for looking after your lilies in a professional way. Most florists use these to enhance the look of their flowers and to make certain that they have a constant stream of customers seeking their wares.