A Summary of General Care Guidelines
Growing lilies (and other plants) in pots, caring for lilies in pots: Most importantly, whether in the ground or in pots, follow these simple guidelines and general principles!!
Keep Pots and Tools Sanitary
Sanitary conditions are very important when growing lilies in pots. Above all, good drainage, pot size, and placement is the key for successful lily bulb or any plant production. Disease spreads from plant to plant when tools are used to work a diseased plant and then a healthy one without being properly cleaned. Even if you believe that a plant is NOT diseased, it is always a good practice to sanitize tools whenever using them on a new plant. When re-potting your plants, clean and sanitize each container before reusing it. Sanitize tools and containers with a 10% solution of non-fragrant household bleach and 90% water. Dip tools for a few seconds before reusing and soak pots or containers for a minimum of five minutes then rinse with clean water.
Isolate or destroy sick or diseased plants
Isolating sick plants helps to prevent disease from spreading to healthy plants in their vicinity. If the plant is badly diseased it cannot be saved and will have to be destroyed. This is particularly true in the case of root rot or blight. Other diseases (such as black spot, botrytis, powdery mildew) can be cured with repeated treatments of corrective fungicides…organic as well as chemical.
Proper Drainage is Critical!
Over watering, poor porosity in the potting mix, and/or excessive packing of the soil while and after planting will compress the oxygen out of the soil. Without sufficient oxygen, the roots die and dead roots = dead plants.
Re-pot when it’s time
Most Importantly, pot or container size goes hand in hand with all else. Plants that remain in pots for too long, result in salt buildup and/or compacted soil. Both will injure or even kill the plant and its’ root system. The plant will let you know when it’s time to re-pot. Stunted growth, leaf discoloration, distorted and bloom discoloration, roots growing out of the drain holes are a few examples. When repotting, always sanitize the container and use fresh potting mix!
Use Caution when Experimenting!
One of the leading causes of plant failure or damage while growing in containers is experimenting with new sprays or fertilizers. “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”.
A good example is treating all plants with the same type of fertilizer. Bonsai trees can tolerate high nitrogen while blooming plants like a low nitrogen, high mineral content. Also, be careful with liquid fertilizers mixed with water, then applied to the leaves. It’s always safer to use the granular formulations.
When trying new sprays or applying any chemicals with which you are unfamiliar, be sure and treat only a plant or two of each variety.
Document what you do! Write down as much information as you can in case something goes wrong or the plant responds correctly. You can destroy your beloved plants with well-intentioned but ill-advised “care”, giving them too much of a good thing…fertilizer, fungicide, disinfectant, etc. Always read and follow labels.
After applying these methods, your lilies and other plants will thrive for years!