How to Plant Lilies in Your Garden or Orchard: [Complete Guide]

Lilies (lillium), also called lilies, are flowering plants that have two main types: those with small white flowers forming a tube and those with calyx-shaped hybrids.

Did you know…Are lilies among the 5 best-selling ornamental plants in the world? The number 1 spot remains for the rose.

They are used as ornamental plants in pots or bouquets. They come from Asia and Turkey. The largest producer of bulbs is the Netherlands, as with tulips.

Important Points when Planting Lilies:

  • When? It depends on when you want to harvest your lily bulbs. They are sown 5 months before harvest. Northern Hemisphere (months of August and October) and Southern Hemisphere (months of March and May).
  • Where? A semi shaded place. It does need some light though. Ideally, you should receive between 4-6 hours a day. It does not withstand frost and neither does it withstand temperatures that are too high.
  • Growing time? About 5 months from sowing.
  • optical temperature? Between 14ºC and 19ºC.
  • Soil type? It supports most soils well, although it avoids clay soils. Try to get the pH between 6 and 7 or even 5.5.
  • How do we water? We recommend drip irrigation.
  • How often do we water? You have to be generous, especially in summer. Water daily with elevated temperatures. Rest of the year, in case there is no rain, every 3 days.
  • What favorable associations do they have? Other ornamental plants, although none in particular.
  • Plagues and diseases? Aphids, mites, thrips, ants, snails and nematodes.

types of lilies

The main species of lilies are:

  • Longiflorum Group: Or also known as the classic lilies, they have three to five flowers facing outwards forming a kind of tube.
  • Oriental Group: These flowers have a little more fragrance apart from being star-shaped. It can be of different colors and the leaves are also oriented upwards.
  • Asian Group: This species has slightly more flowers (5-9). They are odorless and goblet-shaped.

The lilies have a vertical stem, usually short, although it can reach a meter in height and covered by leaves that can be separated and planted in a propagation medium for possible reproduction.

Its roots contain a very important hormonal function, so they must be preserved when the plant bulb is stored.

On the other hand, the fruit is a container for seeds with a very complex germination pattern, so they are not usually used for this purpose. For the multiplication of the lilies its bulb is usually used.

When to plant lily? The dates

You can plant lily bulbs about five months before harvest.

This varies depending on the hemisphere; in the northThey are harvested between the months of August and October.Meanwhile inthe south are harvested between the months of March and May.

If you want to preserve the bulbs you have to mix them with peat so that they are completely dry and pack them in completely hermetic and permeable bags.

Later, keep them in a dry place without light. You can also choose to freeze them at temperatures between 1 and -2°C.

You can store them for a period of a little over twelve months, although try to consider that the longer the storage period, the shorter the subsequent growth cycle.

Where to plant lily? light and temperature

If you are going to plant it outdoors, take care that it always has a good substrate and that it is compact so that the stems of the plant are strong and in general there is good drainage, especially in hot weather.

As tolight Lilies prefer semi-shade.

However, too little light causes pale leaves, weak stems and cut flowers to have a shorter vase life. On the other hand, excess light, especially in summer, can produce short stems.

How to prepare the land? The pH and the type of soil

You can plant the lilies inall types of floors,provided that they have a good structure and correct permeability throughout the growing period, especially for the upper layer, where the bulbs are located, which is where the roots develop.

If you can, avoid clay soils.

In case you have no other alternative, you can mix them with a substrate such as humus so that moisture can be retained and assimilate the entry of oxygen.

This is an essential element in the soil to achieve a healthy and abundant root system of the bulbs.

It is of great importance to maintain an adequate pH. As for the pH levels, try to keep it between 6 and 7 or even 5.5. Remember that an excess or deficiency of pH can make the plant more susceptible to pests or diseases.

How do we water?

It is important to continually water lilies, especially in the early stages of life. If you are in doubt as to how much you have watered your plant, remember that it is better for the soil to be a little dry than for it to become waterlogged.

Excess water causes less transpiration of the crop, which means a reduction in the transport of minerals, causing the plant to have deficiencies, including flower development.

If your plant is too waterlogged, give it more ventilation and drier substrates such as peat or coconut fiber.

Plant lily step by step

  1. Once you have acquired the bulbs, try to plant them as soon as possible in moist soil.
  2. Then make a hole in the ground the width of your bulb and bury it so that it remains a little less than half above the surface. That is, it has to be like an iceberg.
  3. Make sure the roots are well buried and the apex completely vertical.
  4. Then put substrate around to level and do not crush the soil.
  5. If you have bought the bulbs frozen, it is very important that you do not thaw them in the sun, but leave them at temperatures of approximately 10°C.
  6. If you thaw it at higher temperatures, you will cause a loss of quality.
  7. The bulbs that you have thawed can never be frozen again.
  8. Allow them to thaw for approximately two to three weeks and then plant the same as the process already described.

What favorable associations does it have?

Lilies are usually potted individually, but you can place them alongside other ornamentals to add a beautiful look to your garden or orchard.

What pests and diseases affect you?

The main crop pests are aphids, thrips, mites and nematodes:


Aphids suck the sap from the plant reducing its strength. They are located in the apical part of the plant, in tender shoots and flower buds. We recommend spraying with neem extract or potassium soap.


Thrips develops on the scales of planted and stored bulbs, producing a brown coloration and wrinkling of the scales.

Preventive measures against aphids and thrips include: the use of anti-insect mesh in greenhouses and the elimination of weeds.


The mites attack the scales of stored bulbs which turn reddish brown. These wounds can cause bulb rot.


Nematodes cause brown streaks on leaves, split and bulging stems, and on bulbs, brown- stained scales, with a wrinkled and hard appearance. They can be controlled by disinfecting the bulb with steam, as well as pruning the plants.

Whatsecondary pestsbut that cause serious damage if they are present are snails, slugs, clipper ants, soil borers and rodents.

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