How to Keep Lilies Blooming Longer
Choose an area in afternoon shade. Almost all types of lilies require at least 6-8 hours of full sun each day; therefore, you need a sunny site with afternoon shade to plant your lilies.
Use humus-rich soil. Lilies require humus rich, fertile soil. Compost is best. However, if you do not have your own compost available, you can usually find bagged, commercially available compost at any garden center. You can also incorporate lots of organic matter from your yard or landscape such as dried leaves or grass clippings as well as some organic mulch into the soil in your planting bed or area. However, make sure it has been dried or heated before using your “homemade” compost or organic mulch. You can do this simply by placing your compost material in a plastic bag in full sun for two to four weeks. Heating it will destroy any unwanted pests or diseases that may infect your lilies. The soil should be “fluffy” once the organic matter has been added. It is best to place new organic matter every three years, if possible, in the ground where your bulbs are located. However, you can place the organic matter on top of the soil (see Step 5).
Make sure your Lilies have “cool feet”. They like to have “cool feet”; in other words the bulb should be planted deep enough (four to six inches is perfect) so the roots will be protected from the hot sun that the blooms love so much. Another good thing is to plant your Asiatic lilies with other perennials, which will help to shade the roots. This is why lilies will not do very well in plastic pots or containers (see our article).
Apply our 80% slow release “Power Grow Bulb and Plant Fertilizer” before covering the bulbs and on top after planting. It is specifically formulated for lily bulbs and will continually feed for six to eight months. This should be done every year in the fall and early spring before the bulb emerges with their new flower stem. Follow the directions on the package and there is no need to fertilize during the stem or flowering period.
Once planted, mark each location of your bulbs and spread two to three inches of mulch plus our “Power Grow Bulb and Plant Fertilizer” over your Asiatic lilies after planting and every year thereafter. By doing so you will keep your Asiatic bulbs and the soil healthy, rich in organic matter and nutrients, replenish the microbial content of your soil, and the bloom color will be at its’ best.
Water deeply about once a week. Lilies are relatively drought tolerant and do not like a lot of water but don’t let them dry out, either. You only need to water them once a week. The best method of watering is to soak your bulb location from the ground-not overhead watering. Water your lilies for 20 to 30 minutes. This length of time allows the lilies to receive a deep drink of water (at least one inch) which encourages deep rather that shallow roots. (Deep roots ensure the lily has a firm foundation and that the roots remain cool).
Do not cut the stems immediately after the blooms are spent. This is probably the most important thing you can do in order to insure that your lilies will bloom the next year. The lilies take in nutrients through the stem and store these nutrients for the next year in the bulbs. You want the stems and leaves to die completely before cutting them back in early fall.