Question about need to separate a bulb

BLC63(z7 Raleigh NC)May 18, 2006

Last year I planted about 15 bulbs (all Orientals) and of that the deer nibbled all but three or four pretty close to the ground. With that in mind, I'm not sure if the lily I have a question about is one of those that got eaten.

This year, all 15 are up and growing beautifully (thanks to my motion-activated sprinkler that keep the deer away). One in particular produced three stalks instead of one, but the three are smaller in diamter. Another lily produced two stalks instead of one, both of which are smaller in diameter.

Of the three stalks that one bulb produced, two of the three stalks have small buds forming, but the third stalk has none (and I'm not sure the stalk could support a bloom anyway... You'll see in my pic below that the third stalk is pretty puny). Of the bulb that produced the double stalk, both stalks have buds forming and seem a bit stronger.

My question is whether or not I need to dig up these bulbs in the Fall and separate them, or if I could wait another year or two and just let the bulb continue to produce several stalks?

Thanks for any advice-


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When they are skinny like that, there is no need to dig and divide. They need to stay where they are, have a good dose of blood meal every year and good drainage.

There is really no need to divide asiatic or oriental lilies at all unless they are failing to thrive. But after an insult like having been eaten by a deer, it takes a year or two to recover. Most people think lilies have to be dug and divided often, but I find that often retards their growth the following year. I leave mine in place. I have a Midnight Strain trumpet lily that I planted 5 years ago. It was just one bulb and produced one stem. This year I have twelve stems, each one is over an inch thick. If the plants perform as they did last year, I expect each one to have about sixty trumpets on it. Believe me, that is a beautiful sight, worth waiting for.

Lilies take time. Don't give them Miracle gro. Feed blood meal and be patient. That's my best advice.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 4:35PM
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BLC63(z7 Raleigh NC)

I appreciate the advice. I meant "divide" and somehow typed "separate"--I'm glad you answered! I'm pretty sure this was one that was eaten when it was still fairly small last year. The four that I managed to save from the deer last year are huge this year, with many buds.

The area where I have mine planted does have good drainage and optimal sun until about 2-3 pm, then it's mostly dappled shade for the rest of the day. I did give them some bone meal this year, as I am not familiar with blood meal, but I will look into that. I'd *love* to see a photo of your "Midnight Strain"--it sounds incredible!

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 8:52PM
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When it blooms, I'll post some photos. Good luck with your lilies.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 12:12PM
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