Need help with growing lilies in a container

paulsiu(5a)April 5, 2012


I am going to plant some lilies in a container and need some help. My current plan is to get a large terracotta pot (16" or so) and fill it with several different kind of lily bulbs (may be 4 or so), so that they grow together and bloom at different times. I was thinking of terracotta instead of the usual plastic because it weights more.

In most tutorials they suggest adding some broken pottery over the hole to prevent soil from coming out during watering? Do I need to do that? Can I substitute anything else because I don't have broken pottery lying around. Can I line the bottom with gravel?

How often do you think I'll need to water it? Are there simple self watering system I can use?

I usually do organic, but there's probably no decent eco-system inside a pot, is weak solution of fertilizer better or something like time release pellet better?

Finally, when winter comes, what do I do? I was told that overwintering in pots are harsher than in the ground. Can I move them in the unheated garage and cover them with straw?


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Use a piece of screen or anything that partially blocks the drain hole(s) to prevent soil from escaping.

Gravel won't help drainage, but it may be useful in blocking the drain hole if the gravel's size is appropriate.

How often you water will be linked rather directly to plant/soil mass and the physical characteristics of your soil, more specifically to the size of the particles that make up your soil, as well as to your watering habits. IOW, there are too many variables to offer a meaningful answer w/o more discussion.

I think it's much easier to grow plants in containers using well-aerated, fast draining soils and soluble fertilizers. See the link I provided below.

How/where you can/should over-winter depends on where you live & how hardy the plant in question is/isn't. I had a Peruvian Lily I thought might be tender. I really didn't care if it 'made it' or not. I left it in the garage in very little light, where it grew all winter long. I'll cut it back & divide it in a week or two - might even put a division in the ground to see what it does. It was actually a rather attractive plant & bloomed all summer for me. If your plant is hardy enough, the straw may not be necessary.


Here is a link that might be useful: Follow me to what he was talking about.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 3:26PM
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Thanks, I wasn't thinking of using the gravel for drainage, just something to keep the soil from falling out.

As for soil, I was going to use a commercial potting mix or the same mix I used for Anthurium houseplant as recommended by UBC Botanical Garden.

50% Miracle Grow Moisture Control Potting Mix
20% Peat Moss
20% Orchid Potting Media (they prefer Schultz brand)
10% Perlite

Now I have no idea if this mix is good or not, but I got it off the web for Anthurium and it actually worked really well, so I have been reusing it for things with leaves. I imagine if I am planting succulent, I would pick some other soil.

Thanks for the article. An informative read.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 5:29PM
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I have lilies in containers. If you use free draining soil, they should overwinter in pot outside - as long as there isn't water sitting in the pot. I don't put them in garage/shed and do not cover with straw. (You may have to store them if you use terracotta pots-they may crack in winter if left outside). I do use mulch, usually bark nuggets, but I'll mulch in spring - just as you would any plants in garden beds.
Did not loose any bulbs so far.
I cover drainage hole with either piece of landscape fabric or piece of insect screen.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 10:24PM
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