How/When to plant

jrowe416(5)June 18, 2007

Hello Lily experts!

I live in Madison, WI in zone 5. Yesterday I bought a bunch of lily bulbs on sale at Menards. Some Asiatic and some oriental. They came 5 to a package. I am wondering when to plant these. If I must wait until Fall, do I need to refrigerate/freeze them or anything now or can I just leave them in the garage in the plastic/cardboard containers I bought them in? If I can plant them now, should I put them in containers or can they go right in the ground?

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Hello from way north in upstate NY. Finding Lily bulbs for sale in June is rare. Were they plants that had grown and were not sold thus still in pots? If they were loose I wonder about the Quality. Perhaps bulbs go out for sale sooner in Wis. Either way there is no harm in planting them now. They will develop better roots sooner. This will make stronger plants next spring. As for depth: the common belief is that winter hardy bulbs are planted deep to protect them from the cold. That is wrong. The only reason for planting Lilies, Tulips, etc 6" deep is to protect them from the heat and dryness of summer. There is moisture deeper. Just wanted to clear that up. Lilies are one of the most forgiving plants. You can abuse them a lot. If planted now at 1" deep they will pull themselves down by the roots to a desired depth. The drier your fall the deeper they will sink. Generally I plant mine at 3" with a mulch on top. In places without mulch I set them 4". In later years I've found them pulled down to 8" by themselves. I have about 1000 Lilies (Lilium) in full sun and full shade and between. They bloom wherever they are. I've accidently dug some up in May half-grown, replanted them and they bloomed that summer. Last fall I set in 50 more. This spring I found 3 I had dropped on the ground. After sitting on top of the soil all winter under 8 feet of snow they were growing where they sat. So you get the point they are not very fussy about conditions.
Water.....After planting any bulb or plant I water it heavy to get the air out from around it. Most plants hate air around the roots. Roses especially. After that I rarely water my flowers. I believe mother nature can take care of her own things quite well. 14 days without rain I will water heavy.
Generally do with them as you wish, they don't care. But there is no advantage to waiting until October to plant them. If the ground freezes early there this year the bulb will have less time to grow roots hence less blooms next spring. Plus storing in the garage or cellar you risk furry little critters stealing them. Why wait? Plant now and let nature handle it.
FYI>>>>> Walmart is a good place to try this....Many places sell Lillies, tulips, etc in pots in bloom. Example Walmart. Many are not sold and sit there after the blooms are gone. Whatever store it is holds them until they can be returned to the grower. While they sit there the bulb grows more bulblets. Often I go after the blooms are gone and buy a pot of 2 lilies then find at home the 2 has turned into 12. A helpful hint. Also try Home Depot and Lowes, etc for this idea. Greenhouses usually know what they're doing and you won't get this deal there.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 9:43PM
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Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of this. You have answered so many questions for me. I am going to plant them tonight.

Wow, 1000 lilies! I can't wait until I am at that stage.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 6:51AM
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I've had pretty good success with the "prepackaged" lily bulb collections from Menard's, etc. In addition to all the good information from lilium guy, I'd put a marker where I planted them so as to not accidentally dig or plant over them before they break ground next Spring.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 11:41AM
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Just a footnote on my earlier reply....I never heard of MENARDS. what is that. Have none in NY. duluthinbloomz has a good point. I forgot about the markers.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 8:23PM
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Menards is a big home store basically. The size of a WalMart, but with Tools, Hardware, Painting Supplies, Gardening Supplies, Appliances, and any other home/house thing you could possibly need. I spend too much money there!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 8:30PM
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