My lily is no longer upright...

mike5055June 15, 2008

So, I have been in university and working a lot, and have finally had some time to get out to my garden. Some Lilies I planted last year started growing at an angle for some reason. So I moved them to new spaces, put them upright, but now the tops kinda tilt to the side because of how they were growing. Is there anything I can do to fix this? Perhaps staking it? Thanks for any help!

P.S. - I can get you a picture of it tomorrow if it would make it easier to see what I am talking about.

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I'm no expert but planted several varieties of Asian and the other type like Stargazer.

They like full sun and if they don't get it, they lean. My Regals don't get nearly enough sun on the east side, bought a bunch of hoop plant stakes, the tops just frizzled on some, so they don't like it there. Even on the south side of my house where there is 6 hours or so of sun, they bloom beautifully but still lean but not as much.

The only ones that aren't leaning are a new Red Velvet which is way in the front and gets the most sun, also the stargazers in that area don't lean.

There is one exception. I don't know the type, but it is Mrs. R. O. Backhouse which likes part shade the vendor said, so it gets very little sun. That one does not lean.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 11:49PM
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Yeah, that's confusing me. It was in a full sun area (most of my back yard is due to its placement).

The only thing I can think of is there are two rather large hostas I put in until I could prep a new bed. They were rather close to the lily, probably far closer than they should have, and started to encroach in on it a bit. Is it possible that could have done it?

Also, will it correct itself now that I have moved it to a completely empty area with nothing around it?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 1:10PM
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I guess you will need an expert for that. I wouldn't think the hostas would be the problem in such a short time. Some of my lilies are packed together, not the best soil either, they're still happy, much taller this year, so I don't think it's that. But they will need dividing by year 3. They seem to have grown 6 inches since I sprinkled some liquid kelp on them according to the instructions on the bottle.

If you moved it and it doesn't straighten up, it just may be a weak plant. Or needs some nutrients. Did you plant it with 1 tsp of bone meal and stir it into the dirt at the bottom of the hole? Sometimes I forget to do that.

Plus it could be the soil. I think that is part of the problem with the Regals, big tree for years has sucked out the nutrients, obviously that isn't what is going on with yours. I was told to plant them 9 in deep so I did, that's not the problem but could be part of it, but I don't plant them that deep any more.

Good luck with your lily. I usually buy at least 3 of one kind in case they don't perform well. Then if all else fails, I will just do something different, or buy the same one from a different vendor that has a good reputation.

Plus maybe it got hit with something or stepped on and weakened?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 6:29PM
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hld6(z7 MD)

Hi Mike,

The issue isn't how much sun so much as what direction the sun comes from. Lilies planted on the south side of a house would get sun all day but none of it would be from the north side and it would lean - though not as much as a lily getting insufficient directional sun (east or west side of a house). Now it is true that shaded lilies will get "leggy" aggravating the situation. If they were in even dappled shade all day and got leggy, they might lean due to gravity but a group of them wouldn't necessarily all lean in the same direction.

Some types of lilies reach for the sun less than others - even among lilies that like full sun. My LO's lean hardly at all even in very directional light. Orientals lean only a moderate amount. Trumpets grow to the sun quite a bit in addition to being tall and slender and top heavy with their large number of large blooms. So they have gravity and directional sun working against them!

Like you I got busy and ignored some of my trumpets this year and, while they are strong and healthy, some are curved over until horizontal (!) with the ground. Black Beauty in the same bed has a bit of a lean (maybe 20 degrees from vertical).

And as you noticed Mike, the buds also align with the sun - relative to that lilies, upfacing, outfacing, or downfacing, habit. When you then straighten a leaning lily (by replanting or staking) - the stalk looks better but the bud tips up or to the side at a weird angle.

If the plant otherwise looks healthy you have nothing to worry about. Just stake it sooner next year. If it really likes to lean for the sun like the trumpets tie it not too far below the top and move the tie up as the plant grows.

Also, you don't say where you're from but, the farther north you are - the more directional the light, even in a full sun bed.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 6:19PM
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