The scientific name of Lily plants is Lilium spp. And the common name is Lily. Lily plant is an herbaceous perennial bulb. Actually the elegant, fragrant flowers of true lilies are perennially popular as a pollinator-friendly border and cut floral arrangement addition. Lily plant care actually varies depending on the species within the genus. Though, most types of Lily plants require a sunny, well-drained spot and cool bulb roots. 

All members of the Lilium genus contain compounds in all parts of the plant that are lethally toxic to cats, they are not species to cultivate if you actually have a curious kitty.

Lily Plant Info

The common name: The common name is Lily.

The botanical name: The botanical name is   Lilium spp.

The family: Lily plants belong to Liliaceae family.

The plant type: Lily plant is an herbaceous perennial bulb.

The mature size: The mature size is up to eight feet tall.

The sun exposure: Lily plant prefers full sun partial shade.

The soil type: Lily plant does well in a   moist, well-drained soil.

The soil pH: Acidic, Neutral

The blooming time: The blooming time is spring, summer, Fall.

The flower color: The flower colors are white, red, pink, orange, yellow, purple.

USDA hardiness zones: Three to nine.

Toxicity: Lily plants are highly toxic to cats.

Lily plants varieties

There are over one hundred wild lily species. Some of the popular native examples include:

The Easter Lily variety: The Easter Lily is a highly fragrant, compact species (grows up to three feet tall) with white flowers. The Easter Lily blooms midsummer and is commonly grown as a pot plant.

The Tiger Lily variety: The Tiger Lily variety is a show-stopper typically featuring bright orange blooms with dark spots in mid-to-late summer. The Tiger Lily can produce up to ten flowers per stem and is highly disease-tolerant.

The Canada lily variety: The Canada lily is non-fragrant species' nodding blooms are typically orange, yellow, or red, and the stems can reach eight feet tall. Each of the plant can produce up to twenty blooms in early to mid-summer.

The Asiatic lily variety: These particular varieties of Lilies are the earliest blooming and easiest to grow of all the lily types, and they don’t typically reach more than three feet in height. The flowers of the plant, which usually appear in May or June, come in a wide range of colors and they are usually not scented.

The Oriental lily variety: The Oriental lily bloom in mid-to-late summer. The Oriental lily is more delicate and tricky to grow than the Asiatic hybrids, the Oriental lily plants are actually famed for the heady, spicy scent emanating from their tall-stemmed, large flowers. 

Lily Care

The following are the common lily plant care requirements:

Place the lily plant in full sun or partial shade.

Plant your Lilies in a well-draining, fertile soil.

Water the lily plant regularly. The lily plant dislike being dry, but soggy soils can cause root rot. 

Fertilize the lily plant at the start of the growing season and then every few weeks until blooming finishes.

Mulch the lily plant bulb roots to retain moisture and also provide cool shade.

Light requirement

Make sure you plant your lilies in full sun or part shade. Lily plants do best in a spot receiving six to eight hours of sunlight. However, you don’t want bulb roots to get too hot. Shade the Lily plant bulbs by planting them deeply (around six to nine inches into the soil).

This also helps stabilize these tall-stemmed species. When summer temperatures soar, you can consider adding a layer of mulch to keep the soil cool. However, don’t mulch up the Lily plant’s stem, this can actually lead to stem rot.

Soil requirement

A well-drained soil is required for your Lily plant, as a soggy condition can lead to bulb rot. If drainage is an issue you can consider building a raised bed. Most species of Lily plant do well in slightly acidic to neutral pH levels.

The Lily plants prefer fertile conditions. Amending your soil with organic matter, such as compost or well-aged manure, can really offer a beneficial boost on the plant.

Water requirement

Even moisture promotes strong lily plant stems and also long-lasting blooms. Using a drip irrigation system or slowly manually watering the Lily plant roots is ideal. Overhead, heavy watering of the plant actually encourages the development of fungal diseases.

Depending on the climate in your area, you might need to deeply water the Lily plant once or twice a week during the hot, dry summer months, taper off as the temperatures drop and rainfall is more frequent.

Temperature and humidity requirement

The Lily plants typically grow best in daytime temperatures between sixty-five degree Fahrenheit and seventy degree Fahrenheit. Temperatures above eighty-two degree Fahrenheit can lead to disappointing stem and bloom growth.

If the Lily bulbs of these temperate climate natives experience prolonged exposure to temperatures below twenty degree Fahrenheit, the bulbs will be unlikely to grow again the following season. Lily plants don’t appreciate overly high humidity levels or extreme fluctuations.

Fertilizer requirement

Actually your Lily plants will appreciate regular applications of a balanced, slow-release 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer during the growing season.

You can fertilize your Lily plants in early spring once you see new shoots emerging, then every few weeks until the flowering period ends. Don’t fertilize the newly planted bulbs. The Lily plants don’t like strong formulas coming directly into contact with newly developing roots.

Pruning Lily plants

After your lily plants bloom and the tall stems turn brown in the late fall, you can carefully cut them back to the ground. Do not cut them back before then, as they continue to nourish the bulb to promote next season’s growth. 

How to propagate Lilies

The Lily plants can be propagated through various methods. Clump division or bulb scaling (breaking up and rooting certain parts of the plant bulb) in the fall are actually the most rapid, easy options. You can follow the steps below to produce new lily plants from bulb scales.

-After the plants has finish flowering and the foliage has die back, you can dig up and select the large, disease-free bulbs.

-Carefully clean the bulb very well.

-Break off the several newly formed outer scales growing out of the basal plate (the main fleshy stem of the bulb).

-You have dip the scales into a fungicide.

-Then place the scales in a sealable plastic bag that is containing a moist mix of sphagnum moss and vermiculite.

-Seal the bag and then store the bag in a warm, dark, well-ventilated location. The ideal temperatures are around seventy-five degree Fahrenheit.

-Just wait for the bulblets to form roots. Depending on the lily species, this can take about ten to eighteen weeks.

-Once the bulblets have fully formed roots you can easily transfer them to their permanent location.

Growing Lilies from seed

Growing Lily plants from seed isn’t too tricky, but it can take about 2 to 6 years before the Lily plants bloom.

-Treat the Lily seeds with a fungicide.

-You can sow the seeds in pots in late winter or early spring. Make sure you keep them in a cold frame or greenhouse where temperatures remain around seventy degree Fahrenheit, and they have access to bright but indirect light.

-Sow the Lily seeds thinly in a fertile, evenly moist starter medium.

-The germination to form bulbs can take about few weeks to a few months, depending on the lily species and the growing conditions.

-You can easily divide the bulbs once the seedlings take root and reach their dormancy phase.

-Make sure you keep them in the cold frame or greenhouse for another growing season.

-Harden off the Lily plant seedlings before transplanting them to their permanent location (again during the dormancy phase and after the seedlings develop their first sets of true leaves).

Potting and Repotting Lily plants

Lily plants actually perform well in pots, making a striking, scented addition to a sunny patio. Make sure you select a pot that is around two inches wider in diameter than the original one. The pot should have good drainage holes and be deep enough to accommodate the Lily bulbs having at least twice their height in well-draining, fertile potting soil above them.

Lily plants blooming months

Normally, the Asiatic hybrids, Madonna lilies, and Martagon lilies bloom in early to midsummer. The Trumpet lily flowers appear in mid-to-late summer, and the show-stopping oriental lilies often bloom from late summer to early fall.

How to encourage more blooms

To produce bountiful blooms you have to ensure that your Lily plants receive plenty of sun, nutrients, and even moisture. Other issues that can actually affect flowering include overcrowding, cutting back the plant stems too early before the plant stems have time to store enough energy in their bulb for their dormant winter phase, and not planting the bulbs deep enough in the soil.

Deadheading Lily plants

The Lily plants only flower once per season, so deadheading the plants isn’t required to encourage the development of new flower buds. However, removing the spent flowers can keep the Lily plant looking tidy, and also directs energy to any remaining blooms and foliage. Once all the blooms are past their best, deadheading directs all the plant’s energy to boosting the bulbs rather than to seed pod production.

Pest and disease control

Some of the native species of Lilies such as tiger lilies, and hybrid lilies are less vulnerable to disease or are disease-resistant. Nevertheless, it is always worth keeping an eye out for some of the more common lily disease and pest problems, which include:

Aphids insects: Aphids insects act as vectors for the lily mosaic virus.

Botrytis fungal disease: Botrytis fungal disease is probably the most common lily disease; the early signs of the disease are small, spreading white or brown spots on the Lily plant leaves or buds. The Oriental × Trumpet and the Oriental hybrid cultivars tend to be resistant.

Lily mosaic virus: this particular disease can cause unsightly discoloration, stunted growth, and also bloom issues.

Lily leaf beetle: These bright red insects actually chew the holes in lily plant leaves, stems, and buds, sometimes to the point of complete defoliation.

You can remove the aphids and the other pests as soon as you see them, and then apply a natural insecticide, such as neem oil, if problems persist. To prevent diseases, try and avoid overwatering and overhead watering and then remove the infected plants and bulbs.

Common problems with Lily plants

When there is actually a problem with your lily plants, often there are early warning signs to look out for.

The leaves turning yellow: Overwatering of the plant is a common cause of yellowing leaves on lily plants. Also, under-watering or getting light levels wrong are also offenders. The fusarium wilt disease can cause yellowing of the leaves before the Lily plant turns brown and dies. If the fungus is actually present in your soil, you can select highly resistant lilies such as Asiatic cultivars 'Orlito' and 'Connecticut King' or Lilium regale or Lilium dauricum.

Weak stems: If your Lily plant’s stems are overly floppy and break easily, the possible cause can be insufficient light, too much nitrogen in your fertilizer, and the Lily bulbs not being planted deep enough.

Curling leaves: If your lily plant leaves are actually curling unattractively, consider whether the Lily plant needs more moisture or relief from scorching sun. If there are a lot of aphid insects around, your Lily plant could be suffering from the lily mosaic virus.


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