storing liliy bulbs over winter

organic_laureenAugust 5, 2010

We are moving to a new house either next spring or early summer and I am hoping to move as many of my plants as possible. I have many lilies and would like to store some of the bulbs over the winter as we are moving to a new house and the actual date is not fixed. I was thinking of harvesting in the fall and storing in a cool area in vermiculite. Does anyone know if this will work or any other ideas, I do not want to lose my lilies!

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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

No, that won't work. Lily bulbs must be planted as soon as they are dug up. If stored as you described, they will dry up and be of no use in spring.

Some mail order suppliers store lily bulbs for spring shipping, but I believe they are stored in a refrigerator or some kind of special storage. I have no idea under what conditions.

I would pot them up this fall, then bury the pots before winter comes. In spring, when you are ready to move, just dig up the pots.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 11:55PM
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I agree with 'pitimpinai'. I would pot them up and keep them as cool as possible in a dark place.

However, you will get your best advice by going to the Canadian lilygrowers website: (I am recalling this website from memory, so if I'm wrong, just 'google' lilies of the valley, which is the name of the company in Ontario.) And they have a person onsite who will answer your question.

Good Luck, and I hope you're moving to a lovely province like British Columbia.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 10:41AM
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chocolatemoose(Z1, North Pole, Alaska)

Just to weigh in with another viewpoint...
I'm into my 6th year of growing lilies in a cold climate. I can only leave Asiatics in the ground so I grow all my Orientals, Trumpets & hybrids in various size pots. In the fall I'll un-pot them all. I then put them in individual baggies with some wood shavings from the local lumber yard. I either don't zip the baggie or I poke holes in it if I do zip it. (no rhyme or reason to that part) They then go into a designated 17 cubic ft fridge at 35-40 degrees. They stay there till they decide to come out of dormancy late Feb or early March when they get potted up again in a heated garage. My losses are extremely negligible and seem to be only when the wood shavings were too damp.

I've also received orders from vendors on the east and west coast in October for all types of lilies. I open the box when it arrives (because I love the, then I immediately close it back up and stick it in the fridge just the way it arrived.

Personally, I've not had luck burying the pots in the ground, even with mulch and a few feet of snow cover. Not sure what your winter temps are though so that process may work for you.

But as long as it is very cool and dark, I don't see why you couldn't somehow store your bulbs for your move...Maybe my system isn't supposed to work, but it does.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 5:26PM
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can someone tell me WHEN to dig up the bulbs for storage (this is the first time I have grown them) - and do I cut off or tie the folliage?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 10:15AM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

roo, there is no need to dig up lilies for storage in New Jersey.
They should be left in the ground all year round, winter included.

I always cut off the flower stalks right under the lowest spent blossom, so that they won't set seeds.
I don't tie any foliage.
Cut down the rest of the stems to the ground after they have turned brown in October/November.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 5:40PM
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I have been coming to these forums for as long as I've loved gardening. I learn so much; with so little hassle! Thanks all! This was just the information I needed tonight!


    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 7:55PM
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