Lilium (Lily bulbs)
Lily bulbs are never completely dormant and need to be planted ASAP!!
You can delay planting for a few days by keeping the bulbs in a cool (not frozen) area of your garage, basement (34-40 degrees F.), or in the refrigerator's vegetable section. Our packing material protects your bulbs and absorbs excess moisture. Watch for excessive condensation, and if bulbs sprout, carefully open the bag to allow the flowering shoot to emerge. Plant as soon as possible into the garden. We do not recommend growing lilies indoors without a greenhouse or solarium (they need lots of light indoors), but you can hurry the bloom by placing the pot outside on warm days and bringing it inside if freezing is forecast.
Site: In their native habitat, nature provides lily bulbs with perfect drainage for each species. Under cultivation, you must select the proper location as waterlogged soils will cause bulb rot. A sloping site with natural drainage is the best location. When planting on level ground in heavy soil, it is wise to plant in a raised bed. Sandy loam soils rich in humus, but fast draining, are ideal. Lilies prefer a pH of 5.5-6.5.
Fertilizer: A complete fertilizer (5-10-10 or 10-20-20) is applied when the stem starts to emerge, and again, just before flowering. Areas of high rainfall or sandy soil will require additional feeding. Well rotted manure or compost is excellent for top-dressing in the Fall.
Planting: Lilies are very attractive planted in triangular groups of three bulbs of the same variety, spaced 12"-18" apart. Locate in an area receiving at least a half day of sun. Provide dappled shade in very warm regions for Orientals and most Species. Cover with 4 to 6 inches of fluffy soil; plant Orientals deeper in areas where daily temperatures average over 90 degrees F. and the soil is sandy. Mulch to control weeds and do not "overplant" or crowd bulbs with other plants.
New roots are grown each year from the bottom of the bulb (basal plate) and along the underground stem portion. Basal plate roots go deep into the ground to help anchor bulbs against the effects of high wind; for accessing deeply buried nutrients and ground moisture; and for long-term health. This "contractile" root system actually pulls bulbs deeper in light soil. Encouraging the formation of stem roots after transplanting should be your most important, immediate goal. This critical roots need nutrients within the top 2 or 3 inches of soil - where a top-dressing of fertilizer, compost or well-rotted manure can be placed and where nature provides nutrients in the wild.