Gardening Tips For Lilies

Lilies are a wonderful addition to the garden. They make gorgeous vases and bouquets and look great in a centerpiece.

They need neutral pH, well-draining soil and a bright, sunny spot in the yard. They also do best with a little bone meal scratched into the ground at planting time.


Lilies add color, elegance, and fragrance to the garden. Their blooms last from early summer through fall, depending on the variety you choose. They are easy to grow and can be planted in pots, raised beds, and in-ground gardens.

Planting Tips

The most important thing to remember when planting lilies is that they require well-draining soils and 6-8 hours of full sun per day. It’s also critical to select a spot with adequate shade for the lower portion of the plant’s leaves.

To encourage proper drainage, enrich the soil with leaf mold, compost, or well-rotted manure. If the soil is heavy, a layer of coarse sand or gravel may be beneficial as well.

When planting, set the lily bulbs at a depth of 3 times their height (approx. 4-8″) so that the roots are firmly in place and can grow down to the ground. Bulbs are best spaced 2-3 times their diameter away from each other, and they will need staking to grow in larger groups.


Like all bulbs, lilies require well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Dig your planting site to a depth of at least 12 inches and enrich the soil with leaf mold, compost or well-rotted manure.

Lilies grow best in full sun or partial shade and thrive when the soil is moist but not soggy. Watering regularly helps lilies to stay healthy and bloom more consistently.

True lilies need phosphorus and potassium more than non-Liliums like calla and daylilies, so they should be fed a fertilizer with high levels of these two nutrients. A good lily fertilizer will also have high calcium content, which is important for strong roots and flowers.

A high-quality bone meal formula, such as Down to Earth Organic Bone Meal Fertilizer 3-15-0, is a nearly foolproof way to deliver the nutrients lilies need. For added vigor, a water-soluble fertilizer, such as Jacks’s Classic Blossom Booster Fertilizer 10-30-20, can also be a great option for getting a jumpstart on your lilies’ blooming season.


Lilies are easy to care for and make a beautiful addition to your garden. However, they do require pruning to keep them looking their best.

To prune lilies, you will need a pair of clean pruning shears (or sharp scissors). Use these to cut back leaves that look damaged or faded.

Leaves that have turned yellow, brown, or crispy should also be removed. This will encourage new growth to grow.

After cutting back lilies, apply a mulch of a 4- to 6-inch layer all across the plant bed to protect the bulbs from freezing temperatures during the winter months.

When removing dead foliage, disinfect your shears in between cuts with a solution of 2 parts water and 1 part vinegar to mitigate the spread of disease. This helps prevent transferring diseases from infected dead and diseased foliage to healthy, healthy plant parts.


Whether you’re selling lilies at your local market or arranging them in a vase, it’s important to harvest them at the proper time. Cutting a lily too soon, for example when it’s still in the bud stage, can prevent it from fully opening or result in misshapen blooms.

Lilies are incredibly sensitive plants that bruise easily, so handle them carefully at all times. This is especially true when harvesting lilies in hot weather.

When storing cut lilies, it’s important to place them in a cooler at 35 to 41degF for an hour after harvesting. This will help them maintain a cool temperature during storage and avoid shocking the flower buds.