The lily is easily one of the most beautiful flowers you can have growing in your garden and knowing advanced lily care can help your lilies reach their full potential. When in bloom, lilies can boast flowers in any number of hues, including orange, pink and white, among other varieties. If you are planning on planting lilies in your garden or already have some growing, you will want to know all there is to know about the proper way to care for these beautiful flowers.
Lilies grow best in full sunlight with slight shade. Something that makes them one of the most friendly and easiest plants to care for is that they do not require any special type of soil. They can be grown healthily and beautifully with any pH level in the soil as well, which is a big plus when you decide to plant them in your garden. The only thing to take into consideration when planting in soil is the amount of moisture the flower bed receives. You should avoid planting lilies in spots where a lot of water collects during rainfall. Overwatering will lead to your bulbs rotting, so be sure to plant in soil where there is adequate drainage.
If you have no choice but to plant your lilies in an area that receives a lot of water, put them in raised flowerbeds. This will protect them from the buildup of water after a storm. Loose, well-drained sandy loam is the ideal housing in which to plant them. Spring and fall are the best times to plant your lilies, provided you are having good weather. Lily bulbs have to be planted as soon as possible due to the ability they have to quickly dry out when stored. If you cannot immediately plant them upon purchasing the bulbs, keep them in a cool place, such as your refrigerator's crisper or a cold room in your basement.
When planting a lily, dig a hole at least one foot deep and remove any rocks that might hinder the plant's growth. Leaf mold or peat moss can serve well in aiding the drainage in the soil, which is important for the overall good health of the lily. You won't need to spread any special fertilizer down during this time. It's best to wait until the plant starts showing shoots with their leaves. Be sure to then add an organic fertilizer and sprinkle water on top of it.
This cannot be stressed strongly enough, but fertilizing of your lilies should take place only during early fall, after the foliage has died off. Twice a year is enough to keep them healthy. Do not, under any circumstances, apply fertilizer immediately after flowering, because doing so can leave to your lilies prone to disease.
Once the new shoots start to appear in the spring, avoid raking the area. Doing so can lead you accidental damaging of the shoots. Broken lily shoots won't regenerate until the following year, and when they grow during that time, they will be considerably smaller. While the lilies are growing, you might want to consider installing some stakes around the flowerbeds to protect them and eventually support the stalks once they grow taller.
Removing blooms during the flowering season is expected and appropriate. However, avoid cutting more than one-third of the lily's stem, as this can adversely affect the lifespan of the plant.
Keep an eye out for insects on your lilies late into the spring. Aphids are a typical pest that plagues many plants in gardens. If you spot any insects that seem attached to the stalks and new leaves during the growing season, you can eliminate them with an insecticide spray that has nicotine or rotenone as an ingredient.
Another problem to look out for is fungus, which manifests itself as brown spots on the leaves of the lily. If left untreated too long, the fungus can completely disease the plant by spreading and causing leaf loss. Pruning the plant in the areas that become brown can control the condition and spare your lily.
If you add mulch around your lilies, it will control the growth of pesky weeds. This is important in the overall maintenance of a healthy lily plant by retaining soil moisture and preventing uprooting. A one- or two-inch layer of compost materials work well to achieve this. However, take care not to lay too much of the substance on top of your lily bulbs, because that can deprive the shoots from much needed light. Of course, you will have to remove any weeds you kill with mulch by hand to avoid accidentally damaging your lilies.