How to Grow Lilies - with Video

How to grow Lilies:
Lilies Growing, Propagating and Transplanting

Lilies Growing, Propagating and Transplanting

Growing Lilies

Most lilies are easy to grow and a true bulb. Some lilies will be happy with well drained soil, while others are quite specific in their requirements.
If you are in doubt whether your soil has adequate drainage, spread two to four inches of sand or compost in the planting hole. Mix the sand and compost with the surrounding soil. Plant your lily bulb about six inches deep.

With many Varieties and Lily Hybrids - there're lots to choose from. However, my favourite lilies are the fragrant, trumpet lilies.

Lilies look best when they're mass planted in mixed borders and rock gardens.
Some are suitable for woodland gardens or just planted in pots for instant colour.
Planting lilies next to low growing ground covers, ornamental grasses or small shrubs, has its benefits.
When the lilies are finished blooming the surrounding growth will cover the brown dead stems.
You should stake the tall growing lilies to prevent from wind damage. When cutting the lilies either as a cut flower or when they're finished blooming, only cut one-fourth of the stem. Lilies need their leaves to produce food for next year blooms.
During fall cleanup, leave a dead short stub to mark the lily bulb location, even then I still damage a lot of my bulbs by getting carried away with my spring cultivation.

Propagating True Bulb Lilies

There's a few ways to propagate lilies.
You can divide old clumps, scales, bulbils, bulblets and seeds.
The lily that you divide will grow to be like the original mother plant.
I think bulblets, bulbils are the easiest. Dividing a clump sometimes is needed, but I also break a lot of its scales. You can plant the scales and get bulblets, but I'm an impatient gardener and I would rather not do it.


Lily Clumps should be planted right away.


They produce on the lily stems just below the soil surface. Detach in the Fall and plant two inches deep in the garden.


Form in leaf axils. Remove in Fall and plant as you would peas.
This is when a nursery bed comes handy. Otherwise, comes spring I have no idea where all of my stuff is.

Lily Seeds:

Start indoors and plant outdoors after frost.
It may takes about three weeks to see the first lily leaf.
Add your seedlings to the nursery bed after they're big enough to handle.


Snapped off the bulb can grown into bulblets if you grow them indoors in damp peat moss or vermiculite. Using Ziploc bag works fine for this.

Freezing and Thawing:

This creates havoc with lily bulbs but heaving the soil and damaging the lily roots. Mulching in the fall keeps damage to a minimum. If in the spring you find some bulblets heaved and growing on top of the soil - just plant them back in.


Lily roots form mainly at the basal plate at the bottom of the bulb, but some varieties will grow their roots close to the soil surface. When cultivating don't dig deeper than a couple of inches. Root damage can increase diseases.


I like transplanting my bulbs in the Fall. By then the bulbs have gone dormant and there's less chance of damaging anything. However, I've also transplanted in the spring without any problems.


Red Lily Beetle and Slugs
Other than that, they seem to be pest free for me. Happy Gardening!

Are all Lilies Fragrant?

No. Asiatic Lilies are not Fragrant and have smaller blooms when
Oriental Lilies are very fragrant with larger blooms. I have both and love the fragrance in the yard.

Growing Lilies with P.Allen Smith