Plant Asiatic Lilies Now?

socksMay 30, 2007

American Meadows has lily bulbs on sale. If I buy now, will they ship now? Should I plant now or in the fall? I'm in zone 9 or 10.

I've not grown lilies before, so this is new to me. I called them but it was after hours.

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hld6(z7 MD)

Unless they've kept them refrigerated and you plan to do the same until fall, you would need to plant them now. In zone 9 you should have enough warm weather (depending) for them to grow and even bloom and build up again before cold weather (since asiatics are early bloomers). Next year they'll bloom on schedule.

One caveat, where in zone 9 do you live? Zones seem to be more about how cold winters get then how hot (and long) summers are. For example there are zone 7's on the pacific northwest that have VERY different summers then here in zone 7 Maryland.

The other difficulty for you may be vernalization over the winter. If you can't grow daffodils as perennials in your area you'd have a tough time with lilies coming back. They need a few months at temperatures below 40 to leaf out the next spring. Even so, you can grow them as annuals, making a late spring sale a good deal for you.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 3:04PM
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Oh thanks, Helen.

We're in California, inland valley. We get usually a few nights of frost each winter (however, this year we had a lot more). We have long, hot summers too, heat well through Oct. My one lily did live through our frost and is growing well with blooms coming.

I ordered Star Gazer, which most lily lovers probably consider an unimaginative choice, but it is very beautiful and I thought would be a good starter for me. I ordered 9 bulbs and will probably give some away. I'm really looking forward to receiving and planting them, so thanks for your reply.

I do have daffodils which come back each year.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 9:06PM
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hld6(z7 MD)

Since you have long summers my advice still holds, but Stargazer is an Oriental Lily.

Unlike Asiatics, which bloom in late spring, Orientals bloom in mid-late summer. Stargazer blooms in late July here in Maryland

Since your bulbs are being planted late they may bloom later than normal for you this year - but with a long summer the leaves should have time to build up the bulb before they die back in the Fall. If you have a lot of frosts, that's good as long as you don't have late "killing frosts" after the plant has started coming up.

Don't apologize for your lily choice, Stargazer is the most popular lily for a reason. It's beautiful, easy to grow, and wonderfully scented. I think most lily lovers got hooked by some cheap Stargazers they came across some where and bought on impulse. I know I did. I bought a few pots of very crowded plants in bloom I spotted in a Home Depot. They were so beautiful who could resist? I knew nothing about lilies. I threw them in the ground as is - no spacing them out, soil amending, fertilizing, zip. They came back bigger and more beautiful every year and were the envy of my neighbors. I have a lot of other lilies now, but I still have those Stargazers and they're still growing great.

Good Luck!


    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 12:42AM
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That's a nice story, Helen. I guess that's how we all get hooked into our interests, just a little taste, and we want more.

I traded some magazines to someone who sent me a lily bulb, so that's been my introduction. Basically had no idea what to do with it and just stuck it in the ground and forgot it, but it popped up this spring, about 5' tall now. What a surprise. Then the June/July Organic Gardening magazine featured lilies on the cover and lists the "25 best" lilies. So now I am interested in these plants, even though I'm running out of space for much more.

I did notice Star Gazer is an oriental, not an asiatic, when I was reading my gardening book, which is good I suppose since I'm planting late.

I imagine people who are familiar with lilies view Star Gazer the way I do the rose Double Delight. It's beautiful and people love it, but I'm really tired of it.

Helen, could I put some of the bulbs I'm getting in a large pot? I was thinking of putting 3 in one pot and taking it to my son.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 12:45PM
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hld6(z7 MD)

Hi Susan,

Lilies in pots work pretty good. I usually do that with some of my spring bought bulbs and then plant them in the garden in the Fall. If the pot is large enough you can overwinter it.

It's an especially handy technique for late spring sale bulbs. Often they've started to sprout already so I don't want to plant them as deep as recommended (6"-8"). In a pot I can put them just a few inches down, so they can still do some stem rooting, and use nice potting soil so they can build up well over the summer. Then I can plant them as deep as I want in the Fall.

I'm curious, what did your Organic Gardening magazine list as the 25 best lilies? It would be interesting to see if they included any species lilies.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 10:56PM
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jeannejeanie(7 long island)

well helen ... i too was hooked the same way. i bought my non imaginative no name yellow lilies from home depot. threw them in the ground. not as deep as they should be, no fertilizer, no spacing, no nothing & thought they were annuals. well they came back the following year --- surprise to & now 4 years later i am constantly on the hunt for & longing for more space to put in new plants & / or bulbs. i too am the envy of my neighbors regarding my lilies :)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 11:17PM
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hld6(z7 MD)

Hi Jeanne,

I've maxed out my space as well. I made some room by getting rid of a large forsythia - but now I've filled that space up. I might even have to, heaven forbid (!), get rid of some of my multiples. I have a lot of young Siberia lilies that were offsets that I might have to find new homes for. That problem is my whole neighborhood is shady so my they have the same difficulty that I do.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 5:12PM
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Species lilies? I'm a newby and don't know one from the rest, but here's what they recommended, by type of garden:

Woodland Garden (tolerate some shade)
White Chinese
American Turk's Cap

Lilies for wildlife (pollinators love them)
Kren North
Rosepoint Lace
Red Velvet
Black Beauty (on mag. cover)

Meadow garden (They make a dramatic statement.)
Other species lilies or discount-store bulbs

Cottage garden (fragrance)
Silk Road
Easter lily

I have the latin names in case anyone wants them.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 7:32PM
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hld6(z7 MD)

A species lily is a "wild" lily, i.e., not a hybrid. Some are easy to grow some are fussy. The "woodland lilies" they list are Chinese and North American species lilies. The American species lilies, Michigan, Leopard, American Turk's cap, and Wood lily grow along wood margins in nature and need some shade. These lilies are available at local native plant nurseries though they are hard to get from lily growers.

But I'm surprised that they put the trumpet species, "White Chinese" (Leucanthum) and Regal on this list. They're lovely lilies (I have both) but have not tolerated woodland shade (bright shade with only an hour or two of direct sun) very well for me at all - which is to be expected of Trumpet lilies. In fact I moved the Leucanthum I had in a woodland setting because they were performing significantly worse than much younger plants I grew from seed in an afternoon sun spot. Henry and Tiger lily may tolerate shade but I don't think its their preference.

Thanks for sharing, I was curious about what they'd recommend. It seems a nice mix of some classics, newer hybrids, and species.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 1:50AM
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