Lifting lilies, take two

quinnfyre(z7 PA)March 1, 2007

Rather than hijack her thread, I decided to start a new one... can I dig up my lily bulbs in April? Is there a time when it's too late, and you'll just do damage? I am moving in May, and I would really like to take them with me. I'd resigned myself to losing them, until I saw the other thread about it. Now I have some hope!

I know where I put them because I agonized forever trying to think of a place where they'd get enough light but be protected from my neighbors' dogs, who tore around the yard last summer and damaged all my dahlias, such that none of them bloomed.

At least I thought to plant one in a really large container, just in case I moved. That one's definitely going to go with me : )

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hld6(z7 MD)

Hi quinnfyre,
Some times of year are preferable to others but lilies can be moved anytime (if you have to). Because bulbs store a lot of energy, even fairly bad mishandling leads mostly to loss of a season's bloom but not the long term survival of the bulb. Besides, since you're moving, what do you have to lose?

In May you'll have to be careful not to break off the new stalk emerging from the bulb. (If you do - no flowers this year.) Some lilies tend to wander underground before coming up so carefully dig a large circle and feel around with your hands. I've noticed this in some of my Orientals. (My Siberia do this a lot.) Species lilies that are stoloniferous would be especially tricky. I've had my Lankongense come up 8"-10" from where they were planted.

Also try to get as much of the roots as possible, or your bulbs might decide to spend their energy growing roots rather than producing very many flowers.

But really, as long as you don't chop them up with your shovel you should be OK.

Actually, digging them up now though would be close to ideal. If your weather is similar to mine, Its been in the 40's - 60's for the past week or so, so the ground should be workable but not so warm that the lilies have started to grow much. Buy some cheap big pots at WalMart and just pot them up. Watch the weather and as long as we don't have any more really hard freezes leave them outside. You can then plant them in the ground (carefully) in May or leave them in pots for a season and plant them in the Fall.

Good Luck!


    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 8:06PM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

Thanks for your reply. This will be my first year attempting to grow lilies... it's nice to know they can go with me! I'm also glad to know more about them. I didn't know about the wandering part.

I'll give it a go this week, perhaps. It is definitely warming up here. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 10:16AM
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