Asiatic lily how-to

jenn(SoCal 9/19)April 20, 2008

I received a beautiful Asiatic Lily gift and I'd like to plant it in the yard. Wondering what your experiences are with this Lily in clay soil and hot summers.... how much sun or shade, water etc. I gave my Sunset book to someone, or else I'd look it up there.



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I gave up on any lily's due to squirrels. Lilies seem to be a gourmet meal to them.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 10:34PM
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I've never grown lilies in SoCal, but this is what I would try: plant it where it gets morning sun and afternoon shade (like on the east side of the house). Break up the soil and mix in some bark dust and gravel. Plant the bulb so the top is 5" below the surface. Mulch heavily with bark dust. Fertilize in mid-Spring and in late Spring with a balanced NPK fertilizer. After bloom, give only an occasional deep watering, maybe once every two weeks or so. To keep the bulb from rotting, it's best to let the soil dry down to the bulb level or below, but still have a little moisture in the soil that the roots can draw from. When the foliage turns brown, reduce watering to almost none. As the lily goes dormant, do not panic and try to keep it growing with lots of water and fertilizer. That, combined with the hot conditions in summer, will almost certainly kill it.

The goal is to give the plant lots of water, sun and food before bloom (when the soil is cool), and then cut back on water and food as the soil warms up in summer. Warm, wet soil can cause basal rot in lily bulbs. Locate the plant so it gets sun in the morning (when the air and soil are cool) and shade in the hot afternoon. Lilies like to grow among low-growing shrubs, annuals, and perennials, since these plants shade the soil and keep it cool. But the lily stems need to be able to grow above the other plants and get some full sun for part of the day. Otherwise, they will weaken and fail to bloom the next year. So the companion plants should not be too tall or dense.

I don't know where you are in SoCal, so be warned that the bulb will need a certain amount of chilling in winter, or it will not break dormancy the next spring. Luckily, Asiatic hybrids are among the toughest and most forgiving lilies as far as climate and soil. Oriental hybrids are much more picky, and like cool conditions and acid soil.

Lilies have a long list of enemies, so you will need to control slugs, gophers, aphids, squirrels, etc. In spring, if the emerging stem somehow gets broken off, you will not get another stem that year. Lilies aren't the easiest plants to grow, even in ideal climates.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 11:19PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Asiatic lilies are among the easiest and most tolerant of garden plants. Some I have coming back for more than ten years with no care what so ever. Last fall while preparing an area for fall planting I dug up a few Asiatic lilies by mistake. Each bulb I divided into between 5 and 10 sections which I potted up in four inch pots. They all grew wonderfully and I planted another lily garden a week ago. My soil is clay/loam and is well composted with no drainage problems and no fertilizer is ever used. Al

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 9:14AM
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Last year I had a large bed of asiatic and oriental lilies. They are very easy to grow and I'm in a location they doesn't get any frost.

When in bloom they were magnificent to look at, but every morning I would find half a dozen laying on the ground. By the end of the season, the ground squirrels had destroyed at least 90% of the bed. They must have come from miles around to enjoy the buffet.

This year, I'm converting the bed over to day lilies and replanting what little remains of the asiatics into pots.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 10:42AM
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I planted about a half a dozen asiatic bulbs last year and I am seeing 3 trying to grow but 2 of those 3 are getting eaten down to ground level, by slugs I think but not sure. I put down snail bait but still having issues.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 9:49PM
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lemonwater(Ca Zone 9/Sunset 15)

Asiatic lilies are really easy to grow (even in my really crappy clay soil). I purchased a small bag from Costco a few years ago, planted and watered them every once and a while, and now I have about 3 times as many as I started with! The only requirement they really have is well drained soil, or they'll rot. And a small sprinkling of fertilizer after they're finished blooming also doesn't hurt.

I have tons of squirrels in my backyard, but for some reason they don't eat the tulip or lily bulbs I have. I know many people aren't as lucky as I am in that respect (although they eat my other fruits and veggies and are still a nuisance) so if you're worried about this pots might work. My lilies grow wonderfully in pots.

You can also purchase a small metal cage to plant the lilies in (for the garden). They'll grow through the cage just fine and will protect your bulbs from not only squirrels but gophers and other pests in your area too. I hear slugs and such also love eating lilies but I haven't had any problem with those either so I'm afraid I'm not much help. I've ordered from Gardeners Supply before and I really like them, so I've provided a link for bulb cages at their site if you're interested. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Bulb Cages

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 5:00PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 1:12AM
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