How to Cultivate Asiatic Lilies

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For non-stop summer blooming and reliable color in the garden, it’s hard to beat Asiatic lilies. Asiatic lilies belong to the lillium family. These flowers are sold as bulbs and remain dormant through the winter months to appear in the spring. Asiatic lilies are available in a wide range of cultivars and sizes, some, such as Pink Perfection, reaching 6 feet tall, but many only reaching 24 inches. Relatively low-maintenance, Asiatic lilies are a stunning addition to the landscape.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • General-purpose fertlizer
  • Sharp garden shears
  • Insecticide
  • Coarse sand
  1. Select a location in your garden that receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight. Asiatic lilies prefer a location with full sun but will tolerate light shade. Too much shade will decrease flower production.

  2. Loosen the soil with a shovel to a depth of 18 inches. Spread a 2 to 3 inch layer of organic matter such as compost over the soil. Mix well. The compost will add nutrients to the soil and improve the drainage which is vital in growing lilies. Lilies prefer a slightly sandy soil. Amend heavy clay soils with coarse sand and plenty of organic matter.

  3. Plant your Asiatic lily at a depth three times the height of the bulb. This translates to 6 to 8 inches deep. Lilies are typically planted in the fall before the first hard frost. Water the lily thoroughly to collapse any air pockets in the soil.

  4. Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch over your Asiatic lily bulbs. This will help regulate soil temperatures during the winter month as well as add additional nutrients to the soil.

  5. Feed your Asiatic lily in the spring as the first leaf tips begin to show. Lilies require 1 to 3 lbs. of general purpose fertilizer per one hundred square feet. Do not overfeed. Too much nitrogen will cause the plant to produce lush leaves, but small or no flowers.

  6. Water your lily sparingly, keeping the soil slightly moist, but not wet until the new leaves are at least 3 inches tall. This will prevent rot as the new plant is establishing roots.

  7. Protect your lily from insect infestation. Asiatic lilies are susceptible to aphids and thrips. Thrips will damage flower buds and decrease your flower production. Spray the lily with an insecticide or introduce aphid-loving insects, such as ladybugs, to your garden.

  8. Cut Asiatic lily flowers for bouquets with sharp garden shears as soon as the buds begin to open. Remove any flowers left on the plant after they fade to prevent the growth of seeds. Allowing your Asiatic lily to produce seeds will weaken the overall plant.

  9. Leave the spent foliage until late fall. Even yellowing foliage continues to supply the bulb with energy for flowering the following year. Cut all dead stalks and leaves after the first hard frost.

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