How to Plant and Grow Oriental Lilies

Stargazer Oriental Lily
Stargazer Oriental Lily | Source

Oriental lilies are a beautiful addition to any garden. Their blooms are so large and fragrant that it will be love at first site. They make great cut flowers too. Once planted they are easy to grow and care for.

They are available in wide variety of sizes and colors. These plants will grow from 18 inches to 6 feet tall depending on the variety you choose. They have beautiful large blooms and a wonderful fragrance. Many orientals are hardy even in Zones 3 and 4. Check the zone before you purchase them.


How to Plant Lily Bulbs

Lilies are grown from bulbs that are usually planted in the spring or fall months. Early spring is best. The plant that has been grown from a bulb can also be purchased during the summer months and then planted. Planting bulbs is more economical though. The bulbs have scales on them which need to be handled carefully while planting.

Lilies don't go into dormancy like other bulbs or perennials. The bulbs are best planted when purchased rather than stored. If you can't plant them immediately, they will store in the refrigerator or other cool place for a short time. If a longer time is needed, plant them in a pot of soil until they can be planted outdoors. Don't let the bulb dry out and don't purchase dried out ones in discount stores, because they probably won't grow. Feel them when you purchase and be sure the bulb is good and solid.

The plants look best when planted in groups. Plant at least 3 bulbs or plants together. A good idea is to include different varieties of lilies in the same bed. You can mix trumpets, Asiatics, Madonna lilies and others for different bloom times.

Orientals need to have a dry soil, since the bulbs can rot if too wet. A sandy soil blend is best.

Lilies like to have their leaves and flowers in the sun, but have their roots shaded. To accomplish this, just plant them in a sunny spot and have shorter perennials surrounding them. They can tolerate partial shade. If they get too much shade, the plants will be spindly and not have as many blooms and lean towards the sun. You will need to stake them if you do this. It is better to just plant them in a place where they will get at least 6 hours of full sun a day.

Plant the bulbs 6 to 8" apart and 4" to 6" deep. If the bulbs are planted too closely they will not have good enough air circulation and this could cause them to get a fungus.


Care

The lilies like to be kept moist, but keep the water away from the petals. Watering in the morning is the best time.

Because this type grows so tall, you may need to stake the lily or it may fall in the wind. If they aren't planted in full sun, they will also tilt towards the sun and staking will be required.

Fertilize with a phosphorus rich fertilizer in the spring. Some gardeners fertilize every month during the summer, but I have had good results without doing this. Using a time released fertilizer will accomplish the same purpose. Fertilizing right after the bloom time is also a good idea.

If you'd like to use your lilies for cut flowers, cut no farther down than one third of the stalk. If you cut more than this, it can damage your plant or even possibly cause you to lose it. Early morning is the best time to cut the flowers.

After bloom, don't cut down the stalks until they are brown. The green leaves will feed the bulb. When removing stalks in the fall, cut them down. Pulling can pull up the bulb and they won't be as protected during the winter months.

Orientals can go years without dividing the bulbs. In the north, I have never needed to divide my Orientals, like I do my Asiatics. If you notice that they are growing too thickly together and the bloom isn't as prolific, it is time to divide them.

Mulching the lilies in the fall is a good idea. This will help protect them from winter thaws that can make them heave in the ground. Six inches of mulch is about the right amount. Fallen leaves are fine or you could use straw.

Recommended Varieties

Casa Blanca which means white house in Spanish, has a large white bloom. If you want a white lily, this is a nice one. The blooms are showy and extra large. A group of bulbs can put on a real show.

Muscadet has large white blooms. It grows 20-40 inches.

Pimento only gets 24" tall and is a nice choice for pots and patios.

Stargazer is another variety that is a good choice. The flowers are a deep pink and rose blend. They have beautiful blooms.

There are many varieties to choose from. I haven't purchased an Oriental that I didn't love. Be sure to check if the variety you choose is hardy in your zone and you shouldn't go wrong.



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Comments 19 comments

DIYmyOmy profile image

DIYmyOmy 4 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

Thanks for this, it's a great topic and you really covered all the bases!


scentualhealing profile image

scentualhealing 4 years ago from Georgia

I love these flowers, they are some of my favorites! they smell so good the scent is almost a heady one. They are a sturdy thick petaled-flower, I like that too. I enjoyed your article thank you


agreenworld profile image

agreenworld 4 years ago from CT-USA

Hi Barbara Kay,

I love lilies! Enjoyed the cutting and mulching tips! Picture you chose was the icing on the cake.

Thanks again!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Great job! Doesn't seem like you've left anything out. Anyone who has never smelled an oriental lily doesn't know what they're missing, hopefully your hub will introduce them. Voted up and useful. Thanks for Sharing.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

scentualhealing, We were first introduced to these at a garden show growing against a white fence. Once we saw them, we had to have them. Thanks for commenting.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

I see the same plant as you avatar....lol thanks for this information Barbara. I usually purchase seeds so I'll have to remember that this particular plant mat not grow from seeds so I may purchase a seedling instead.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

I may have to give these a try. I would not have thought they would be that easy to grow. Stargazers are my absolute favorite!


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

agreenworld, Thanks for reading the hub. Actually I didn't know about the cutting myself until I did some research. I can't stand to use mine as cut flowers since they are so beautiful in the garden.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

tillsontitian, Thanks for reading and voting it up. I hope it does give some motivation to others to try them.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Cardisa, Your best bet is to purchase bulbs. They aren't too expensive. Thanks for commenting.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

homesteadbound, Yes they are really easy and so beautiful. Thanks for commenting.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Great tips or Oriental Lilies. Bookmarked for future reference! Also voted up and useul!


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

rebeccamealey, Thanks for commenting and voting up. I'm happy to help.


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

The world of flowers is so wonderful and while so many look to roses, the lilies I love. I planted several including the Casa Blanca at our new home - cannot wait for this spring to see my new babies.

Excellent article. Thank you!


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

GmaGoldie, I'm like you. I love roses, but lilies are my favorites. Enjoy watching your lilies bloom this year.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Hi Barbara Kay! Great hub! I love Oriental Lilies. I have several varieties, but don't know their names. I will have to look them up this spring. I am glad to see some information on taking care of them, as I wasn't sure what they needed. I plan on planting more and will definitely use your advice. Voted up, useful and socially sharing! Thanks for the information! :)


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

sgbrown, Thanks for reading the hub and thanks for sharing. The Orientals are beautiful. If you enjoy gardening, you'll love them.


Joanne M Olivieri 3 years ago

Oriental lilies are my favorite flower and particularly the Oriental trumpet lily with the stargazer coming in at a close second. They all do grow very tall so your tip about using a stake is very important. Helpful tips and information in this hub. Voted Up and shared on Twitter.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

Joanne, Thank you for reading the hub and voting it up and sharing.

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