How to Winterize your Lilies

By Renee Gerber , last updated June 8, 2011

Lilies are some of the most beloved flowers to grow in your home garden. However, they are also a variety of plant that requires winterizing, which is more commonly known as protection during the winter. This is necessary because lilies cannot withstand the effects of freezing temperatures and weather conditions. You can easily winterize your lilies during the cold season so that they can remain healthy and grow beautifully come the next spring.

Since a lily's root come in the form of a rhizome, or bulb, that has to be inserted into the ground to grow, you will have to dig it up by this part. Be especially careful while you work, taking care not to administer any shock to the rhizome, as this can adversely affect the plant. When you have it completely dug up, use a sharp pair of trimming shears to snip off the flower and leaves on the stalks. This action should be performed during late fall, prior to the first frost. If you do this a bit late, or if the first frost has already occurred, you may notice blackening on the lily stalks. Trim these immediately and leave about an inch worth of stalk above the rhizome.

Prepare a soil mixture in a container or pot that is appropriate for your lilies. The rhizomes should then be placed within and stored in a cool place. It is also a good idea to place your lily rhizomes in a plastic bag with holes punched into it. Peat moss, sand and sawdust can also be added to the bags as soil. The rhizomes should then be placed in a good, cool place where they will be spared from freezing temperatures. Ideal places to do this are a garage, garden shed or inside your house, such as in the basement. Avoid storing them in a refrigerator, as the temperatures may be too cool for your lilies to endure.

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