Overwintering Container Stargazers

legacyOctober 21, 2007

What are the steps in overwintering Asiatic Lilies and for successful rebloom year after year in containers, or is such endeavor horticulturally unheard of and impossible for container Stargazers?

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I grow asiatics (Stargazers included) in my zone 5 (low temp is -20F) in the ground. They are very reliable year after year. In your zone 8 I would bet they would come back year after year in containers with either no protection or very limited protection (north side of your home against the foundation.)

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 11:44PM
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Hello justaguy,

Some of them lived and then died without forming buds in the summer but none rebloomed.

Are you suppose to water them and keep them in the same containers when they are in dormancy in the fall after they are cut down? Did I have to repot in the spring (I am pretty sure I added some phosphorous even if I didn't amend potting mix)?

Also, do you or does anyone have a trusted lily source for technical information? Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 3:19AM
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I really do not know the correct answer to your questions, Legacy. For me the lilies are just put in the ground and forget about them plants. They take care of themselves.

I would think that repotting them might be counter productive if done in the spring as it would set them back. Usually summer flowering bulbs are divided (or repotted) in the fall as they enter dormancy. Again, I do not grow these in containers, but if I did I think I would try to use a potting mix that would hold up for 2-3 years and leave them there without repotting for that amount of time.

I also am not certain about their watering needs in the winter, but I would assume that since the ones in the ground are getting moisture they also should in containers, but not as much as if they were growing.

Unfortunately I do not have a good source of lily info for you as I haven't really looked into their care requirements. For me they are plant and forget.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 11:20AM
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Hi justaguy,

Thanks for checking in. Your experience and feedback are still helpful. I think your previous response along with the information I googled last night reminded me the possible reasons why I didn't prepare or read up on caring for Stargazers as much as I usually may have, because everyone said exactly what you said that growing oriental lilies is care-free and easy. Maybe the testimonies and factsheets do not mean growing these oriental lilies year after year in containers and in warmer climates like I have in mind.

I think I may have found two credible professional sources about winter care for Stargazers in containers (before and after) and in warmer climate last night that I can share later once I can sit down to understand the information to figure out what my problems were this spring/summer and maybe confirm the information with a few growers or specialists in local garden centers. One of the articles was technical in that I may need to use artifical light, certain weeks of chill time at certain temperature, and use sand in my potting mix. I'll post back once I potted my peonies and figure things out for the lilies. I can't believe how difficult the information is to come by locally, nationally, or on the Internet. I simply can't be the only person in the whole state of Texas who is interested in keeping Stargazers for a few years in containers.

Thanks for sharing what you know. I appreciate it very much.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 1:34PM
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I have two types of lilies that I keep in containers. I have not treated them any different than any of my other plants in the winter.

I believe you may have some poor quality bulbs. I bought a pack of (maybe 3) Stargazer lilies from Lowe's, and they performed like yours. Some bloomed, some didn't, and they all 'died' shortly after flowering. I thought they were dead for good, but they reappeared the next spring and did a little better. Now they are in their third year, and still not doing as well as my other lilies. I don't think that I will purchase lilies at big-box stores again.

My other lily is a Scheherazade that I purchased from Park Seeds. I have had no problems with it, and have been able to successfully clone it.

In my limited experience, neither requires special treatment in the winter.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 8:16PM
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I grow many lilies (and just about everything else) in containers and provide no additional winter protection nor any special care for the containers after the initial growing season. Lilies in containers, as in the ground, require exceptional drainage to flourish and in areas with heavy winter rains I'd recommend offering some sort of protection to avoid excessive winter rainfall, but that's about it. Other than a spring application of a slow release fertilizer, my containerized lilies receive no further special attention.

I'd agree that the quality of the bulb to begin with may make a big difference in performance.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 1:26AM
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Excellent, guys. The less the work, the better for me. Thanks for sharing as all your experiences and confirmation with caring for Stargazers (or lilies) in containers will help me pinpoint and figure out what I did or didn't do and what went wrong over last winter and spring.

I bought these bulbs through QVC (TV, not exactly catalog quality I guess), and the bulbs looked pretty healthy when I planted them in the Spring. Because they also all bloomed over the first summer until I cut them down late in the fall, I'm fairly certain the problem(s) would most likely have happened somewhere during the winter and spring, although how I fed these bulbs and how much light they received during the summer the year prior before they were cut down certainly may also have something to do with the regrowth and reblooming condition the following spring and summer.

Did any of you succeed with your containerized Stargazer using perlite in your mix? One source suggests the uses of perlite and superphosphate in the potting mix are no good for Stargazers, and I did both. Although they bloomed the first summer with perlite and superphosphate in the potting mix, I'm wondering if these two issues are factors in their failures to thrive the following spring and summer.

So, did I understand you correctly that if I ensure good drainage over the winter, I should water (w or w/o fertilizers) these bulbs in the winter?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 9:25PM
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