Hardy Pond Lily

Hardy Pond Lily

Once Spring has finally arrived everyone is anxious to get out and start gardening. One of the first things that can be planted are beautiful Asiatic and Oriental lily bulbs. Once the soil can be worked and conditions are comfortable these hardy lilies can be set in the ground. Here are some lily growing tips to help you succeed. Select a site with good drainage as lilies don’t like wet feet. Full sun is preferred. They will do OK in partial shade and may actually have more intense color but … I find they tend to stretch and lean looking for more sun and have softer growth. This makes it difficult for the plant to support all those beautiful blooms.

Once you have selected a site, planting in groups of 3 or multiples there of is a rule of thumb. Remember to keep the bulbs 6 -7″ apart for smaller types and a good 12″ for the larger varieties. Lilies spread and multiply, often quite quickly. Generally it is accepted that bulbs should be planted 3 times their thickness. For most this is about 6 ” deep. A little deeper by an inch or two in sandy soil. An excellent practice is to dig down as deep as a foot then bring it back up to 6 ” by adding compost or other organic material to improve drainage and add some awesome nutrients. A teaspoon of bone meal mixed in also works wonders. You do not need to fertilize beyond these measures at this time. The idea behind planting this depth is to support the stalk when it becomes loaded with those beautiful blooms.

Once new growth has broken the surface and is up a couple of inches water in some fertilizer. Any of the standard flower types will work just fine. Remember the bulb is a power packed energy source that can support and feed the plant on its own. We just want to encourage as much strength and bloom as possible. As growth continues and the weather warms some mulch helps to thwart weeds, conserve moisture and keep things cool. Keep weed free but take care not to break any of the tender growth. You want all the energy going into plant and flower development. Lilies are very drought tolerant but during summer dry periods watering down to 6″ once a week is a smart practice. Another fertilization during the summer is recommended.

After blooming the spent flowers should be removed unless you are collecting seed. This allows the energy to go into building back the bulb rather than into seed production. At this point DO NOT cut back the plant or remove leaves. The leaves and stalk are working as hard as they can making food reserves which are stored in the bulb. Only after the leaves and stalk have died back can you cut back to ground level. A winter mulch is not required but it does help protect your lilies and offset frost heaving.

So now you are prepared to plant that lily bed or add them to your perennial garden. The blooms are magnificent and the Orientals also have an awesome fragrance. Plus it is always great to have an excuse to get outside and GO GARDENING !

I own and operate Hostas N Lilies which is a family operated perennial nursery. Specializing in hostas, lilies and daylilies we pride ourselves in offering the highest quality perennials. Answering questions and providing advice is an important part of our business. A newsletter with tips and specials is offered free of charge. Please visit us at

Gardening Tips & Advice : Hardy Lily Pond Plant Care

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