Lilies Hints and Tips

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Plant your lily bulbs now. Watch for signs of rot between the scales and roots. The bulb will die if this takes hold. If rot develops, cut out the rot, dust the wound with fungicide and plant in a pot. Lift any other bulbs that were in the same bed and replant in another part of the garden. If you grow your lilies in pots they will need to be top dressed after a couple of years. Scrape the soil away until you can see the top of the bulb and apply new compost.

Buy bulbs from Thompson and Morgan.


Watch for aphids and remove, as these can spread disease on lilies. If you believe your lilies have been affected by a virus, burn them and take care to wash your hands before touching other lilies. Spraying with a systemic insecticide should help to avoid disease. Disease can show in twisted leaves although this can also be caused by insects; leaves can look stuck together and bent over although this can be caused by nectar sticking the leaves together and not necessarily a virus. If in doubt, avoid growing the same lily in future.


As for a number of garden plants this is the peak season for lily displays and it is vital to keep up with the dead heading – unless you are wanting to keep the seeds. That’s it really - enjoy the display.


Tiger lilies and some forms of hybrid produce small bulbils between leaves and the stem which fall to the ground when ripe. This is a bounty not to be missed and is another example of plants for free which all gardeners should enjoy taking advantage of. Gather the bulbils where they fall and push them into the surface of a pot filled with good compost about two inches apart – place in the cold frame and wait for your free plants to grow.

Buy bulbs from Thompson and Morgan.


Plant new bulbs once available. Before the autumn gales cut the last of the flowers with as little stalk as possible and use for indoor decoration. At the foot of L. auratum you may find small rooted bulbs. Lift and grow on in pots, to avoid the slugs eating them. Thin out and transplant overgrown lilies once the foliage has died back. After transplanting lilies you are likely to have some scales which have broken off. Put seed compost in a pot and a layer of sand. Put the scales with the cut edge down into the sand and add more sand, leaving the tips sticking out. Keep moist and in gentle heat of about 10 degrees centigrade.


October is the month for planting lilies - cover the bulbs with about 4 inches of soil - most lilies enjoy a well drained rich soil of neutral pH. Established plants should be allowed to die down naturally.


Lily bulbs can still be planted if the ground is still workable. However, if winter has set in, plant in compost, with just the top of the bulbs showing and place in a frost-proof greenhouse or cold frame. You may lose some bulbs due to slugs or mice.

Buy bulbs from Thompson and Morgan.


If the soil is workable, lilies can still be planted outside. If not, pot them up or store in slightly damp peat in trays in a frostfree greenhouse or shed, applying some slug pellets. Move outside pots into your greenhouse or shed.


If the ground is not frozen, lilies can be planted outside; otherwise plant in pots for now. Lilies can be gently forced in pots by maintaining a temperature of 10 degrees centigrade, gradually increasing this to 21 degrees centigrade as growth begins.


Lilies can stil be planted this month if the soil and weather are suitable. If you are buying bulbs choose the most plump healthy looking specimens. Some lilies will have shoots appearing in the garden - protect them from severe frosts with cloches. Many lilies make excellent pot plants and can be raised in the greenhouse - an 8 inch pot will accommodate up to three lily bulbs depending on the size of the bulb. Once the flower buds appear feed the plants weekly with a week liquid fertilizer.

Buy bulbs from Thompson and Morgan.


Apply a mulch of leaf-mould or compost to lily beds. Protect young shoots from frost with cloches. In the South, lily seeds can be sown outdoors in boxes. You should complete planting of bulbs by the end of the month, planting them to a depth of two and a half times their height. Beds should be well drained and deeply cultivated with plenty of well-rotted compost. Imported lilies should be planted in pots under glass. Seed boxes started in the greenhouse can be moved outside if short of space.


Plant lily bulbs now, keeping beds weeded but being careful not to damage emerging shoots. Seed can be sown in boxes outdoors. Spray plants once a month against aphids which can spread disease in lilies.
Use a systemic insecticide on pot-grown lilies and keep pots watered. Forced lilies should be planted outdoors once they have finished flowering.

Gardening information, hints and tips on how to grow lilies in your garden including planting, pest control, propagation and general care advice.