There are many varieties of red lily to grow and care for, ranging from the stately torch lily, a favorite of hummingbirds, to the tiger lily with its edible bulb. But all red lilies are members of the lily family and have similar needs to ensure a healthy start, strong growth, and beautiful blooms.
Red lilies love full sun but will grow in partial shade. Just make sure they get at least half a day of sunshine or they will stretch and lean toward the sun. Give them full sun if possible, making sure to plant the bulbs deep enough to keep them cool during summer's heat, throw on a layer of mulch, and your lilies will be happy for many years.
Because red lilies are susceptible to botrytis, a fungal condition associated with cool damp weather, choose a place in your garden that is one of the first to dry out after winter. To further prevent this condition, space your plants far enough apart that there is plenty of room for air to circulate around all the leaves.
For best results, plant your red lilies in the fall or winter. As long as the soil is not frozen and does not form clods when you dig, it's safe to plant. You can plant lilies in the spring but they will bloom later than is normally expected and may have shorter stems due to summer heat. Bulbs are ready to plant when they arrive so plant them as soon as you can. If you must delay, store them in a cool place such as your unheated garage or a refrigerator. Keep them in the dark so they don't sprout. Once they sprout, they need to be planted as soon as possible.
Plant the bulbs 4 to 6 inches deep in well-draining soil and at least 6 inches apart. If you are planting in fall or winter, with freezing temps ahead, make sure you lay on a thick layer of mulch. In the spring, when the new shoots appear, check for slugs. Mulch will also be required during hot dry summers. Water your lilies regularly but don't let them stand in water. Fertilizer is not required, but if you want to produce showy flowers, use a little balanced fertilizer when the shoots emerge and reapply a month later.