Why would lilies not bloom?

lindakimyJune 3, 2009

I am a complete novice about growing lilies. I'm not even sure what kinds I have since they have all been given to me. So, thank you all in advance for your advice and patience.

These (probably Asiatic) lilies are very healthy looking plants that are approaching 5 ft. They have returned in my garden (very good drainage and full sun until about 3 p.m.) for about 3 years. Some even have buds - and that is where I see something that looks like it could be a problem. There is a white, cottony looking substance around each bud. I don't know enough to even know if that is normal but it makes me suspicious. It doesn't appear to be mealy bugs and doesn't move when disturbed.

Could this be preventing buds from opening? Is it a problem I could treat? I don't like using chemicals in my garden but I would make an exception if a simply fix could do the trick.

Again, thanks for your heap!

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The cottony substance is normal for some of Asiatics and their hybrids, so do not worry about this.

You might have a problem with Lilies not blooming for you because of your climate. Lilies need cold period (vernalization) every winter to bloom.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 1:44PM
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Thanks, alina. That could well be the problem. Our winter temperatures can get down to the low teens but it doesn't last long and the ground doesn't really freeze. How cold and for how long must the lilies be in winter?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 3:14PM
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It should be at least 400 hours of temperature about 40F or lower.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 3:21PM
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Linda, I'm in the Midlands of SC (hello neighbor)and my lilies (Asiatic, Oriental, Trumpet) all do well. I have them planted in the same bed as alot of daylilies. They seem to like the same conditions. Very odd that yours form buds but don't bloom. I don't believe it's from lack of cold weather.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 2:55PM
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Hi, neighbor. Since I saw your lilies over on the Cottage forum I've been trying (unsuccessfully) not to feel jealous. Please tell me you have invested your children's college funds in mushroom compost. Or that you didn't start out with just white sand like mine.

I'm going to continue to hold out hope for my lilies as long as the buds hang on but it has been so long since they bloomed that I don't even remember what color they were.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 3:00PM
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No, I didn't start out with white sand but with soil so hard that I had to break it up with an ax, a shovel would hardly make a dent. Haven't used much mushroom compost, found that I liked Black Kow better. It seems to have less weed seeds. However, for the last couple of years the only compost I've used is shredded leaves. I've become a big fan of it. I shred the fallen leaves in the fall with the lawn tractor and just pile them up until spring. In the early spring I top dress the garden beds with them. I'm getting so many earthworms! And my daisies are over 3 feet tall. And since the leaves are free there is more money to buy plants! It's a win, win situation. Also, this year I kept reading about fertilizing with alfalfa pellets. I tried some about a month ago, too soon to tell the impact but everything sure is green.

I'd hold out hope for the lilies. I know it's frustrating but their beautiful blooms are so worth it.

By the way, if you don't mind my asking - where do you live in the Midlands? I'm in the southeast area of Columbia, near the VA Hospital.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 11:35AM
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Sorry to take so long answering - I sneak GW time on breaks at work. ;)

I'm a few miles north of Elgin...between Elgin and Blythewood. They don't call it "The Sandhills" for nothing out here!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 8:53AM
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Hey Neighbor - I have lots of relatives in Elgin and am a little familiar with Blythewood. I was there this past Saturday at Singing Oaks Daylily Gardens. Got some beautiful plants!

Thank you for the nice comment you made on my post on the cottage garden forum. Thank goodness for digital cameras. You wouldn't believe how many photos I take trying to get good shots. I do alot of weeding - in my flower beds and weeding out the bad photos!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 2:04PM
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Well, patience finally paid off! The lilies have started to bloom - and what a surprise. I don't remember having these before (getting old I guess) and you would think I would since they are about 6 feet tall and impossible to overlook!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 3:53PM
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What you've got there is Lilium Tigrinum (tiger lily). They're a delight! And virtualy one indestructible plant.

If you want more for other places around your gardens, collect the little bulbils that will form in the leaf axils and put them where they're wanted right away - just as if they'd fallen from the parent plant naturally. Will take approx. 3 years to reach blooming size.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 4:49PM
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Thanks for that information. 3 years sounds like a long time at my age but I'll give it a try. It's especially nice that they bloom as late as this when so many things are finished but the fall flowers haven't yet started.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:38AM
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It's the right time for them to bloom. Mine just started last week and I love them too. I planted some seeds a few years ago and they are blooming this year. I'm a proud mama that my little babies have finally become grown. lol

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 3:08PM
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Well, I would say that those are definitely worth the wait!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 8:20PM
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