When can I thin lilies?

edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)June 23, 2012

Have several groups of Tiger lilies that are over crowded and need to be thinned. When is the best time. I'm in Z5 in upstate NY. Thanks.

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Lilium Tigrinum (Lancifolium) or hemerocallis fulva "ditch lily"?

The ditch lily type can be dug and moved and/or discarded at any time since they have the half life of nuclear waste. Those are a love 'em or hate 'em plant - they do serve a purpose and seem to thrive where nothing else will.

L. Tigrinum should be allowed to go through their normal cycle of blooming and dying back so the bulb is replenished for next season. Once the stalk is woody and brown, cut the stalk down leaving 5-6" just for a digging guideline. Dig deep, these bulbs pull themselves down much farther than they were originally planted. Happen to slice one? Just go ahead and plant the pieces and whole bulbs wherever else you might want them.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 3:38PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

OK thanks. Yeah, I kinda thought these things were bullet-proof, but just thought I'd ask to be safe. These are a slightly different color than the ditch lily, but basically the same animal. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 9:33AM
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Matt Webster

I have a similar question, I think...
I'm planning to get an assortment of different heirloom lilies, but I don't want to get a whole bunch of bulbs that are all the same. I'd rather be patient and split the bulbs each year until I have what I want. (And then I will start trading with you people!)

But how and when do I do that? In the fall after they go dormant each year?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:09AM
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Lily bulbs never actually go dormant.

The only "heirloom" lilies I'm really familiar with are the Lilium Tigrinum Lancifolium. These don't produce clusters of undergound offsets that can be split apart, but are easily reproduced by planting (or just letting fall naturally) the little bulbils that form in the leaf axils. They readily sprout wherever they hit soil, but it takes several years to reach blooming size.

I've had other types of lilies, but they seem to just peter out and eventually disappear even though I have ideal lily growing conditions. So I stick with what has been bullet-proof for me.

If you're new to lilies - read up on propagation, scaling lily bulbs, etc. There's some decent information with "how to's" on the internet.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 3:08PM
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This spring I had to watch carefully every day for the asian lily beetle. The new lilies were planted with a Bayer sistemic fertilizer and pesticide in the planting hole and worked great. Now these lilies are in their second year (many varieties) and I wonder if someone has conqured this problem.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 7:21PM
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