Container Oriental Lilies

yardenman(z7 MD)March 20, 2011

I have a container that is a 16" cube of 10 oriental lilies last year. All of a sudden there are about 60 small ones coming up! I know they are too close to thrive and should be divided (and I have places for them in the garden).

But they are so close together, I'm not sure how to separate them.

I'm thinking I could submerge the container in a trash barrel of water to the soil level and hope I can separate them all in the mud.

Or should I just use a spade or trowel and cut them into chunks and replant, but worry that won't eliminate the crowding?

Or should I dump the whole container dry onto a tarp and try to separate the individual plants by hand?

Or something else?

It really is quite a surprise. They stayed individual plants for 4 years in the container, then BOOM! Plantlets everywhere!

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'd use a sharp spade or a hori hori knife if you have one. A Hyde brand pry bar is an amazingly useful gardening tool. I use mine ALL the time for weeding, digging holes, cutting weeds from cracks, and dozens of other jobs. It's made of hardened spring steel & stays sharp for a LONG time. It makes short work out of dividing clumps of 'stuff'. I've used this tool for years & years and can attest that Hyde makes the best one out there.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 10:49PM
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I agree with Al... in fact, I have a few shallow containers of Lilies to un-pot and get planted in the garden this year. I plan to take a sharp shovel or trowel and just cut the whole soilball into sections to be planted right in the garden. If it breaks apart when I un-pot it, all the better.

If you plan to replace the Lilies in containers, though, or you want to keep a few of the corms for potting, I might think about washing the soil off one of the chunks left after splitting, and salvaging the individual corms.

I use a nice little estate shovel for most of my work, but I do like Al's tool choice, also. Nice!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 7:53AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

I just separated some chives using an old steak knife. O.K. I'll confess, it wasn't old when I stole it from the kitchen. lol..

I just cut through the clump while it was in the container, scooted the mix away and took out the half I wanted. Worked really well.

Bigger plants, I use a small trenching shovel. :-)

Congrats on all the little bulbs! Oriental lilies are beautiful!


    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 2:56PM
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I love having Lilies in the gardens! They make a nice back of the border planting, the flowers are spectacular, and a lot of them are wonderfully scented! We have several types and colors of Lilies in the perennial beds!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 6:34PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I have a serrated knife with a v-shaped notch in one end. I got it at the Senior Center thrift shop for a quarter. I have no idea what the knife was supposed to do, probably it was made to sell on TV. It is about 8-10 inches long and very good for separating things. Since it only cost a quarter I just leave it in the last place I used it. It never rusts. Never gets dull. It does sometimes get lost.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 3:40PM
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I have grown Oriental lilies for years and there is no need to take anything sharp to remove the bulbets except you hands. Dump the container carefully and separate the little bulbs. Replant where you would like. I usually plant the tiny ones in in area set aside for a nursery bed and as they get larger you will have lots more to plant or give away..

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 4:58PM
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