Question regarding care of Asiatic Lily

katefisher(Z7_NorthernCA)June 1, 2006

Wondering how to grow the lilies I bought as bulbs this spring. They were in a bag at a nursery in Reno and I bought them as a whim as they seemed quite vigorous, growing right through the bag.

They are now planted in a mostly sunny spot in a wooden half-barrel in the yard and becoming quite tall. I presume that if all goes well in the next few weeks I will have flowers. My questions are once they bloom how long will the blooms last and can I overwinter in the pots? Should I dig them up like a tulip bulb and then re plant come Fall? I don't know what I'm doing to say the least.

Thanks.

Kathryn

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greenguy1(z7 Maryland)

I should think you would be able to overwinter in a pot in your area, I am in Maryland Zone 7 and have overwintered lilies of many types in pots over the years with no losses. A half whiskey barrel gives plenty of soil volume to moderate temperatures and moisture. You do need to make sure, especially in winter when there is no top growth, that your barrels have excellent drainage. Definitely do not dig them up and store over the winter - lily bulbs do not go completely dormant like many other bulbs and will dry out if kept out of soil for too long. Even when you transplant, you want to keep them out of the soil for as short a time as possible to prevent drying.

Once they start flowering, depending on weather the individual blooms should each last 3-5 days minimum, opening sequentially on the stem from bottom to top. After they are done flowering, cut off any seed pods that seem to be forming (this just diverts energy that can be going back into your bulb; unless you are doing your own hybridization, don't let seeds form) and continue to water and feed the remaining green plant to build it up for next year. How long the stem and leaves will remain green is hard to tell - I have some that die off in 6 to 8 weeks, others that persist until killed by frost. Regardless, just keep taking care of the plant until it dies back or gets done in by cold. Then cut the top off just above the soil.

- Steve

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 8:28AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Agree with Steve. I have actually overwintered asiatics in small (2 - 3 gallon) pots for the past 5 years with no problems (other than it's WAY past time to divide! LOL). You do want to make sure that you have a good draining soil mix as you don't want the bulbs to end up rotting. They are prolific and will make lots of babies for you too!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 8:54PM
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