How deep to plant Stargazer lily bulbs?

belindaingaMay 1, 2006


I ordered 10 Stargazer lily bulbs, and they arrived today...but I'm uncertain of how deep to plant them. I did a search, and came up with varying answers, as I expected! I thought I'd ask the lily enthusiasts here, and hopefully I can be set on the right path to planting my new lilies! :-)

Thanks so much,


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tjsangel(z5 OH)

Hi Belinda,

Lily bulbs are large, meaning they need to be planted deep, about 6-8 inches. The length of your hand is one way to tell how deep to plant these : ) BTW, I love these lilies! They are so beautiful & fragrant.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 7:06PM
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Thanks, so much, Jen! That is a big help...I wanted to plant them last evening, but I was paranoid that I would plant them incorrectly. I appreciate you pointing me in the right I can get them on their way! :-) I can't wait to see them bloom, if they bloom, of course! lol

Thank you again...


    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 9:34AM
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hld6(z7 MD)

Hi Belinda,
With only a few exceptions, (Candidum for instance), Lilies are stem rooting plants and benefit from being planted deep, 8" - 10". Other exceptions are species lilies that have small bulbs like pumilum and cernuum.

Also, since lily bulbs are tasty, planting deep keeps the squirrels from getting them in the winter. A deep insulating layer of soil also helps moderate wide temperature swings in late winter that can fool bulbs into sprouting early.

If you've already planted them don't worry, the stem rooting is beneficial, but 2" doesn't make a big difference. Just mulch them well in the Fall.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 7:31PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I asked my DH to transplant some for me (my carpal tunnel was acting up) and just noticed a couple were planted too shallowly! This was done a week or more ago. Do I need to replant these? Or is it too late now? I had planted them in a holding bed last fall because I bought the bulbs then couldn't get into the dense garden jungle to plant them. These are Orientals, which I have not grown before.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 1:06PM
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hld6(z7 MD)

Hi Linnea56

Since they were transplanted only a couple weeks ago they haven't had much time to establish so I'd go ahead and move them now.

Just be careful when digging to not break off the stem that may be beginning to emerge from the bulb underground and try to disturb the roots as little as possible. The soil should still be pretty soft around them so it shouldn't be too difficult to dig them up gently.

But honestly, one of the great things about lilies is that they're not "fussy" plants. If you'd prefer to set them deeper in the Fall, (assuming a new "jungle" hasn't grown up by then), they would grow fine this season. Deeper is just more ideal.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 2:35PM
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shic_2006(4a 5a)

Are Stargazers different from Orientals?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 11:16AM
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hld6(z7 MD)

Stargazers are one type of Oriental Lily. While it is the most popular, there are many others.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 9:15PM
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Thanks so much for answering my question - my apologies for the delay in thanking you.
I will wait until the leaves and stems have died back, early fall, as you say; better to have them for years to come than ruin them now.
This is a wonderful forum. Thank you again!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 4:03PM
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I just purchased 14 Stargazer lily bulbs. Is it OK to plant them now, or do I need to wait until spring?


    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 8:34PM
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Plant them ASAP. Lilies do not go dormant like other bulbs. They will be weaker if you will store them. We will have pretty decent frost free weather next week here in Mid-Atlantic area, so the soil will be workable. Provide them with excellent drainage. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 12:21PM
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Thanks, I read your note and went outside immediately and planted them. The weather today is overcast and 50 degrees, so it was perfect to dig a few holes.

I'll report back when they bloom. Thanks again for the advice.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 4:56PM
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You're welcome! I hope you chose a sunny spot for them. Watch for slugs when your Lilies will start to sprout.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 11:01PM
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I don't have a great deal of sun in my yard. I'm on 3 acres, but in the woods; however, I planted them where I get the most sun. Some that I planted a couple of years ago did very well last year just a few feet away, so I hope it will be OK.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 11:59PM
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