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 ? Bulbs Forum FAQ: Lilium/Lilies


Frequently Asked Questions


 ? How Do I Grow Lilies in a Mild Climate Zone?

Katherine Hung CAZN9 - Hello everybody !!! I live in Zone 9 in CA and even though I am able to get the Asiatic and Oriental Lilies to bloom they are never as tall as the planting instruction claims they can be. From the gardening magazine I know that they can grow as tall as 3 to 5 feet. I want to know if refrigerating them before I plant them will help.

Linda D (MI/Z4) - If your winter temperatures rarely go below 40 degrees, you have to lift the bulbs in October and refrigerate them 4 to 6 weeks. Lilum need a cold winter period. Then replant, making sure you have added plenty of humus to their new homes. Lilium also prefer an acid soil, which you can provide through the humus and top dressing with a mix of peat moss and compost.

larry - You might try the species that are from tropical zones; Lilium formosanum and L. phillipense. They are both fragrant white trumpet lilies that will bloom in six to eighteen months from seed and need no cold treatment. Height is usually four to five feet, but in Arkansas I saw one that was nine feet tall!

Kirk Johnson Zone9 Oregon - Brookings Oregon has been known for its Lily bulb farms for most of this century. They grow many varieties of Oriental Lilies. They are in Zone 9b.

Paul Niemi Jr. - I've had good luck with Easter lilies (L. longiflorum) here in south Florida (zone 10). They've grown quite well and multiplied more rapidly than expected. I am trying a new strain of lilies I just purchased from Wayside Gardens--they are the result of crossing the Easter lily with Asiatic hybrids so they are colorful like the Asiatic and fragrant like the Easter lilies. I'm hoping that their Easter lily blood will enable them to thrive here in south Florida.


 ? I Need Ideas For Companions to Lilies.

Louise Agne - 5 MI - I had my lilies planted among my perennials but lost quite a few last year to the wet wet Spring, and the bunnies took a great toll of the remaining ones, so last fall I built a raised bed which I will enclose, and moved all my lilies. Now what should I plant with them? Babies breath is a natural, but it's taprooted and I don't want anything that will compete with the lilies for nutrients. I have lots of coreopsis rosea but would like something taller. Does anyone have any suggestions? Colors are reds, pinks and yellows.

David Sims - 5 - I grow quite a few lilies(thousands) and daylilies are my favorite companion plants. Babies breath generally requires a soil with a PH neutral or on the sweet side. If you are growing oriental lilies, they require an acid soil, so they might not be good together. I have wanted to try clarkia. White petunias are also a favorite.

Betty - I like sweet woodruff as it echoes the shape of the lily leaves and does nicely in the shade as a ground cover

mary - 7 - I love lilies. I have mine interplanted with dallies and "Pink Ruffles" azaleas.

Lise B.Quebec - I grow oriental lilies with Ericaceae like Rhododendron because they all require acidic soil. With Asiatic and trumpet-aurelian lilies I grow roses and Delphiniums. Those plants grows well in neutral soil. Don't be afraid to grow lilies near shrubs. Root systems of shrubs allows the soil to be light and lilies really love that.


 ? I Need Sources for Red Tiger Lilies.

Gail Korn NE Z4B - Do any of you grow red tiger lilies? How red are they? I got quite a few from a mail order nursery this spring and when they bloomed, they were quite orange.

Andie Rathbone Mo/Zone 6A - Try these: L. 'Scarlet Emperor' from White Flower Farms; Red Tiger Lily from Van Bourgondien, L. Tenuifolium, Monte Negro, & Corina (all from the latter catalog)

W. Pelkonen - The "real" tiger lily (Lilium lancifolium) is really orange, but many other Asiatic species and cultivars are many times called tiger lilies. So, if you want lilies with red, spotted flowers, you can try any red flowered Asiatic hybrid. Species, that have red, martagon formed flowers, are e.g. LL. amabile, pumilum, leichtlinii (some forms), carniolicum, pyrenaicum, pomponium and pardalinum.


 ? I Need Help With Squirrels Eating My Lilly Bulbs.

Laura L - Do squirrels eat lily bulbs? I know that they are a problem with tulips and some other bulbs, but I wasn't sure about the lilies (both Asiatic and Oriental).

Linda D. - Have been specializing in lilies for seven years now and have never had problems with squirrels eating the bulbs. But, I live in the woods where there is a lot of natural food. If you are concerned, you can spray the bulbs with Ropel before planting.

Andie Rathbone - Don't know about squirrels, but rabbits love them.

Cecelia - I have found that since lilies have to be planted so deeply no squirrel can be bothered to dig that far down. You will be quite safe from them. Lilies have more of a problem with having their feet wet, so be careful where you plant them. It has been my experience that when planting any bulbs I do not let them sit on the ground where I am working. The squirrels can detect a smell on the ground where the bulb was sitting and because the ground has been disturbed they will start digging. They actually are not very smart and do not know you planted anything there they just think "Oh that's were I put it." So pack the ground down when you are finished.


 ? Why Won't My Blood Lilies Bloom?

Chef - Fl/9b - I have several Blood lilies in my back and front garden, only a couple a year bloom.

While researching this problem I discovered that they prefer to be potted, and then almost always bloom. Does anyone know when they should be dug up? Should I wait until the foliage (which is quite striking in of itself) dies back, or go ahead and pot them up now?

Paul Niemi Jr. - 10 - I grow them in the ground here in South Florida and have had good luck with them. They prefer well drained soil, moisture and fertilizer spring through fall and then a dry dormancy during the winter. The foliage will tend to yellow a bit in full sun, but they'll still grow okay with one caveat: the flowers will also tend to fade in full sun, so perhaps an east exposure or part shade would be best.

If you want to dig them now, that is okay but I wouldn't worry about potting them yet as they will stay dormant till spring. You can store them dry in a well ventilated spot and then pot them up in the early spring. Keeping them dry and waiting till spring to pot them will also help them properly ripen for flowering.

They also prefer to be planted or potted with the top of the bulb just about at soil level. Again, I've found them to be easy, so if you have a number of them don't be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you. Perhaps in zone 9 you are getting a little bit cool for them during the winter, especially if they are subject to moisture while being chilled. (I'm assuming we're discussing Haemanthus [Scadoxus] and not Rhodophiala bifida [Oxblood Lily]). Haemanthus produces a large ball shaped head composed of many red star-shaped florets in spring while Rhodophiala produces several small, blood-red, amaryllis-like flowers in fall.


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