Their colours range from the snowiest of whites to vibrant shades of yellow, orange, pink and red, all the way to an almost black burgundy.
Lilies as Cut Flowers
A vase of lilies can add stunning impact to any room.
Before bringing your flowers indoors, snip or pick off the anthers to avoid staining the blooms and your clothing or linens.
When cutting, leave at least one third of the stem on the plant to help the bulb gather strength for the next year.
If the stem is cut too short the bulb may not flower the following year. However, the year after that it will produce a lush growth of large blooms.
When placing the lilies in a vase, make sure there are no leaves in the water to foul it. Keep the vase out of direct sunlight and the lilies will last longer. Change the water daily. A drop of bleach will ensure no bacteria keep the stems from taking up water.
Giant hybrid lilies can reach heights of nearly eight feet while Asiatic miniatures are a mere sixteen inches.
Prepare your soil with generous amounts of organic matter such as compost, leaf mould or well-rotted manure.
If these things are not available add blood and bone meal to your soil.
Before planting, inspect your bulbs.
Look at the centre – if it is a closed-tip bulb with scales fairly close together, plant tip up and roots down.
If the bulb has an open centre and the scales do not come to a point, plant on an angle.
Open bulbs planted upright can collect water in the centre of the bulb and rot it from the inside out. Lilies prefer their faces in the sun and their roots cool so plant low growing perennials at their feet.
If you have difficulties with small rodents eating your bulbs from underneath or cats and other animals digging up your bulbs, chicken wire may be the answer.
Simply lay small-meshed chicken wire in the planting hole under your bulbs and place chicken wire just under the soil’s surface once your bulbs are planted.
Make sure to keep the wire far enough beneath the soil line so that shallow weeding is not hampered. You may also use bulb baskets, especially for the more tender bulbs that must be stored inside over winter. If slugs are a problem, break up washed and dried egg shells and sprinkle the pieces around the base of the plants. Besides contributing a small amount of calcium to the soil, soft-bodied slugs will avoid the jagged edges of the shells.
Lily Bulbs in Winter
If your bulbs need to be stored over winter make sure they can be kept in a very cool place that does not freeze.
Store them in a brown paper bag, a bin of dry peat moss or in a bulb basket.
Keep them away from apples or other fruit. The ethylene gas given off by the fruit will cause bulbs to rot and die.
If you leave your bulbs in the garden you may want to place “remember rings” around your bulb plantings to mark the spot and keep you from accidentally digging up your bulbs when readying the spring garden.
Mulch with straw, hay, leaf mould or even partially rotted horse manure.