Garden-Tested LILY BULBS | Contact Us

Growing Lilies in the ground + Potted Plants

Our Hybrid Lily Bulbs will reward you with beautiful flowers when planted in a suitable garden location and given reasonable care. When you receive your bulbs, please inspect your order immediately and contact us within 7 days with any concerns. Lilium species (wild lilies) and their close hybrids are not guaranteed against failure to grow because they require more exacting conditions and are sometimes hesitant to bloom the first year. B&D Lilies® has no control over weather, rodents, mollusks or rotting due to saturated soil in your garden during those few odd years that try the patience of all gardeners, so you need to keep aware of how and where you plant.

    PRO ACTIVE SOLUTIONS: Raised beds are the answer should your garden be subject to more severe rainy conditions from time to time -lily bulbs do not like the soil constantly wet and they do not swim well. Sudden deep freezes without snow cover or prolonged rainfall resulting in saturated ground can be a challenge to the patience of any gardener. Give your plants a well-drained location and have suitable mulch ready in colder climates. Do not allow competition from aggressive trees, shrubs, ground covers, or creeping grasses. Pre-emergent weed killers are not recommended as formulas can damage lily roots. Before planting, please refer to the Planting Guide for more information and the Cultural Guide packed with your order.

    Slugs and snails may munch on lily sprouts as they emerge - even following the sprout underground - but control is easy, simply put out slug bait before you see slime trails in early spring.

    Mulch your bulbs well in cold areas like the Midwest AFTER the soil is frozen 3 to 4 inches to foil mice and voles from taking up residence; removing layers as spring unfolds to prevent soil from staying constantly wet during melt off or heavy rainfall. Use bulb cages in the ground if you are concerned about rodents.

Should there be concerns about your bulbs/plants BEFORE planting, notify us immediately. Please have your invoice, shipping carton and bulbs and/or plants handy when you phone us or contact us by email.
  1. Open the box to inspect order promptly upon receipt. If something is wrong, do not wait to tell us or certain varieties may be unavailable for replacement. If we have made a mistake or bulbs were damaged during shipping, it will be corrected as quickly as possible.
  2. Do not discard any bulbs or plants until after you contact us; the condition may be normal for that variety, or we may wish the plants returned for analysis of plant or packing technique. If you need to store lily bulbs a short while before planting, you must still check to see that your order was received in good condition.

What about potted lilies?

Potted bulbs: Although potted lilies are more difficult to grow over winter in cold/wet climates, successful strategies include moving pots to an unheated greenhouse, cold frame or a cool garage for protection. When potting, use one gallon of quality commercial soil per bulb; too small a pot will severely impact growth of roots, stunting its growth or even cause stems to grow oddly. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizer or soil mixes with added fertilizer - veggie or rose fertilizer is best for lilies - applied twice a year while in active growth. Too much nitrogen fertilizer either as a spray or mixed into the soil will inhibit the formation of flowers and although you lilies may have nice green leaves, the whole point is the flowers.

You MUST insulate containers from rapid freezing and thawing. Although bulbs are perfectly hardy in the garden where soil temperature changes slowly over many hours, unprotected pots can freeze within one hour. Excessive moisture plus subfreezing temperatures are sure death to any containerized plant. You must store your potted lilies above ground and surround containers with fiberglass insulation, sawdust, or hay for the winter. In mild climates place pots into a cold frame or unheated garage. This also satisfies the pre-cooling requirement for greenhouse forcing. Do not bury potted plants directly in the ground. Containers act as catch-basins, excess water does not drain away, and bulbs decompose. In mild climates, winter rains can be more harmful than arctic blasts of Northern regions. If you choose to containerize your bulbs, take the extra time to protect them during winter, keeping in mind that a technique which may succeed one year, may not the next.

What size bulbs will I receive?

Lily bulb size varies greatly depending on the bulb type (whether Asiatic, Trumpet, Oriental or species), age from seed or scale, where grown (i.e. soil and climate differences), and breeding background. Different species have different characteristics; some are slender "dog-bone" shapes, others are elongated, or round. All lilies develop into larger bulbs when left undisturbed or will divide into several smaller-sized ones. Any bulb which blooms is mature; if it's ten or three inches in circumference, the facts of reproductive life remain the same. Cool summers tend to produce smaller-sized, mature bulbs. Should we feel that a variety is not to a minimum size upon harvest, we replant it for another season's growth.

Larger bulbs tend to produce more flowers, if characteristic for that variety. Some lilies have a low bud count for the relative size of the bulb, yet others can produce three dozen blooms with a smaller size bulb. Occasionally, we may send Exhibition-size™ bulbs in your order at no extra cost to you, but the package may not be marked as such. Please do not think that a very large bulb is a sign that the others are too small, most likely we've dipped into our propagation stock to honor all requests for a variety. Only lily bulbs which are grown for the cut flower market are graded to be the same size, all other varieties are sent as nature provided for that season.

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