Planting and Care of Lilies (Lilium)
Thank you for your purchase from our annual lily festival and Parry’s Tree and Lily Farm! Below you will find useful planting/care instructions and some helpful hints that I have learned over the years that will help your lilies thrive for years of enjoyment. You will also notice we recommend our Power Grow product line for growing your Callas, Day Lilies, and Lilies. We have spent the better part of ten years devloping the products that are best suited for growing and maintaining a healthy, colorful bulb…
Asian Hybrid Lilies
Mostly non-fragrant, they come in all shades and color combinations, multiply rapidly, and bloom over a long season. The flowers can be up facing, side facing or down facing, vary in height, and flower early to mid season (depending upon the plant).
Orientals, Trumpet and Aurelian’s
These varieties are the most exotic and showy of all lilies but multiply more slowly. They can be grown in somewhat arid, colder climates in low fertile soil but will take a little more effort on your part for good survival in these conditions. Amending the soil and providing heavier winter protection of straw, leaves and peat moss is recommended. Spring planting allows them to settle in and are more apt to make it through harsh winters. Protecting them from the first frost and by covering with a cardboard box or heavy straw during extreme cold weather, will allow the bulbs to mature more fully for the following year. The large beautiful scented flowers that bloom late summer will be well worth the extra effort needed.
Orienpet – Longiflorum – L.O. Hybrids
Orienpets are cross bred between Orientals and Trumpet lilies. These lilies are breakthroughs giving improved vigor and large showy flowers. They are more hardy than their parents; the orientals, trumpets and longiflorums. Lilies in this group should be mulched their first year to aid in over wintering in cold climates. Spring planting of this group allows them to settle in and are more apt to make it through the winter with little care.
Tiger Lilies (Species)
Depending upon how and where you plant them, most tiger lilies do not require specialized care and will naturalize themselves very well. They are very adaptable to most soil conditions and environmental conditions. They do quite well in warm, moist climates with stems and a lot of blooms. Their delicate, beautiful flowers are quite showy and most will bloom for long periods fertile soil. Tiger Lily bulbs for the most part are smaller than hybrid varieties, but will produce good quality blooms.
General Planting Guide
Your bulbs are never completely dormant so they should be planted as soon as possible. If for some reason you are unable to plant your bulbs immediately, keep them refrigerated and moist in the poly bag along with the packing material they came in. Our packing material will absorb any moisture that accumulates and keep the roots fresh. Provide adequate ventilation by opening the top of the bag completely until you can plant them.
It is important to choose the right location. When planting in the garden or landscape, make sure your bulbs are in an area that drains well and has no standing water at any time.
Lilies require direct sunlight for part to all of the day. They do best grown in full sun during the am hours and shade from about 2pm on.
Like Calla Lilies, Lilies in the lilium family (Asian, Orientals, etc.) like and thrive in acidic soil (6.0ph to 6.5ph). Therefore, all necessary steps should be taken to lower your soil Ph to the desired level. However, they will perform adequately in a neutral 7.0ph soil.
Lilies need rich (high organic matter), “airy” soil…not compacted. For heavy soils (clay) and any other soils, add a lot of potting mix with at least 30% pumus to the hole before planting. You can also use a combination of peat moss, a small amount of seasoned organic compost, and pumus. Once again, a good potting mix with at lest 30% pumus for good drainage can also be added. If using manure make sure it is well rotted (at least 1 year old) and use as a top dress only, otherwise it can cause damage to the bulbs by lowering their disease resistance. Commercially produced manure is excellent. Do not use chicken manure…too high in nitrogen no matter how old it is.
Plant to a depth of 4” to 6” and 12”-16”apart. Trumpets and Orientals should be planted to a depth of 6” for extra winter protection. Place your lily bulb with its roots down and scales pointing up. I do not recommend adding bone meal because dogs and other rodents will dig for the bone meal therefore destroying the bulb. Instead add some seasoned compost or mulch and our Power Grow Fall fertilizer. Cover with your soil mixture, then pack the soil in well around your bulb to remove any air pockets. If the soil is extremely dry, add a bit of water before covering. Lilies make a nice show if they are planted in triangular groups of 3 per variety.
Do not use a black or dark colored pot or container. They absorb way too much heat and will overheat the roots. Bulbs should be planted singly in a minimum of an8” wide and 14″ deep or larger pot, and in groups of 3 or more equally spaced at your discretion allowing at least 2″ but no more than 3″ of soil above the bulb. I do not recommend planting deeper than 2″. Here’s why: people have a tendency to over water when lily bulbs are planted in containers (I am no exception). For example, if annuals or other small perennials are planted to accent the lily flower at the top of the container, they will take a lot of extra watering that the lily bulb does not require.Therefore chances are you will rot the lily bulb in this case. If you are going to plant the lily bulb in this manner, plant it no deeper than 2″ and cover or remove it from the container before Fall or Winter.
Potting Mix…Not Soil
Like Calla Lilies, Lilies in the lilium family (Oriental, Asian, etc.) thrive in acidic potting mix. Our Power Grow Potting mix is formulated at 6.3ph to 6.5ph and I highly suggest using it.
Do not use your garden soil for container or raised bed plantings. You can introduce all kinds of soil insects, soil diseases, and worse of all SLUGS! For best results use our custom “Power Grow” potting soil.
Mix our FALL “Power Grow” soil fertilizer (according to directions) with our potting mix before placing your bulb(s). Once you have potted the bulb(s) and covered them, sprinkle our SPRING “Power Grow” fertilizer(according to directions) on top of the finished potted bulb. Repeat the Spring “Power Grow” fertilizer when the bulb is showing six inches of new stem growth. A commercial potting mix that is mixed with a PH level of no more than 6.7 that has 30% peat moss, 30% mulch, 40% pumice will be adequate.
DO NOT USE MUSHROOM MULCH OR COMPOST, IT HAS TOO MUCH LIME AND TOO HIGH OF PH! Re-pot every two years (repeating the steps taken above) with fresh potting mix and our FALL “Power Grow” fertilizer.
Extra care for winter storage should be taken. Surround the containers with sawdust, straw, or cover them with plastic much the way you would protect tomatoes from a late spring freeze. Or, before Winter sets in, remove the bulbs from the container or place it in an area that will protect the bulb from freezing, such as a root cellar or garage. Bulbs can get below freezing as long as they are well protected with soil, peat moss, potting mix, or any other protecting material..
Storing your lily bulbs uncovered outdoors during the winter months is not recommended. Too much rainfall can saturate even the best well drained potting mix. Heavy snowfall on top of the container that slowly melts will also cause your bulbs to rot. Therefore, it is recommended that you either move the containers to a dry,cool place for winter storage. Or remove the bulb and store in a paper bag with damp newspaper surrounding the bulb. Place the bag with the bulb in it in a dry, cool place.
If you feel you have a well drained potting mix, it is not necessary to pull your bulbs from their beds. You can leave them planted through out the winter.
Below I have listed the most common pests and treatments found here in the Pacific Northwest:
Slugs and Snails
Slugs and snails are by far the most destructive pests known to lilies. Feeding occurs primarily under ground and usually at night. They can wipe out your bulbs in a matter of days! You should treat your lilies every three weeks with any organic, pet safe slug bait at or near your bulb location.
If your lily is well nourished and healthy, I very seldom see an aphid attack. The time they will infect your lily plant is just before the bud swells and starts to color for opening. However, if it does occur treat them by applying an insecticidal soap in the AM hours and NOT during the heat of the day…you will burn the foliage and bloom.
Grow in containers near where humans populate. Deer are usually are afraid to come around places where people are. Get a large enough dog that will chase them away. Use sprinklers that will turn on anytime there is motion near the sprinkler (motion sprinklers). Use a hot sauce and apply frequently to the bud, upper leaves, and stem. Build a cage or fence around the lily plants.
Pocket Gophers & Moles
Pocket Gophers will eat all of your lilles in a matter of hours by first eating the bulb then by pulling the rest of the plant into their run or tunnel. Diligence is the key here: Watch for their air holes or mounds then attack! Use any commercial Gopher trap to get rid of them before it’s too late.
Moles are not vegetarians so the way they can damage or destroy your lilies is while they are foraging for grubs or worms, they will sometimes move your bulb to the upside down position. Therefore the stem will not emerge.
Planting and Care of Day Lilies (Hemerocallis)
Purchased day lilies as bare root tubers, should be planted as soon as possible. Day lilies grow very fast and require a lot of water. So, if you are planting in containers make sure it is large enough to accommodate root expansion and you water them every two days. I do not recommended planting them in containers, but rather plant them in the landscape where they will get plenty of water. Day Lilies grow very fast so don’t forget to allow for root and over all plant expansion!
Day Lilies generally will not require any soil amending but it is always helpful. Add some organic matter, compost, and or potting mix before planting. Also, add our Power Grow Fall fertilizer at the bottom of the hole and as a topical dressing each Fall (according to label directions). Place the plant in a hole slightly deeper than the roots are longer being careful NOT to cover the top of the leaf or fan. Water heavily after planting.
Use our Power Grow Fall fertilizer. Do not over fertilize especially with a high nitrogen base unless there is a minimum of 80% slow release nitrogen (the first number in the mix 10 -20-20). If using a different mix without slow release, use a high mineral content and a level below 10 of the nitrogen count (the next two numbers in the mix 10- 20-20 ) instead and make sure there is an iron level below 5%. Too much nitrogen will promote excessive leaf growth and few blooms. The high mineral count will promote good root growth, bloom color and count, and a much stronger healthier plant. Apply the fall fertilizer evenly around the leaves at ground level or before covering the plant roots. Use about two tablespoons per plant. Fertilize every fall for healthy plants and multitudes of blooms for the following spring.
Use our Power Grow Spring fertilizer. Do not over fertilize plants especially with a high nitrogen base unless there is a minimum of 80% slow release with the nitrogen (the first number in the mix 10 -20-20). If using a different mix without slow release, use a high mineral content and a level below 10 of the nitrogen count (the next two numbers in the mix 10- 20-20 ) instead and make sure there is an iron level below 5%. Too much nitrogen or iron at once when mixing with the plant at time of planting will promote diseases and excessive leaf growth.
The high mineral count in any fertilizer will promote good root growth, bloom color and count, and a much stronger, healthier plant. Apply two tablespoons of our Power Grow Spring Flower Food evenly around the base of each plant before or when the leaves are approximately six inches in length. For more than one plant, use one cup per 10 square feet or four cups per 50 square feet applied evenly around the group. After blooming is completed and during the fall, apply our Power Grow Fall Bulb Food evenly at the rates listed above.
Day lilies can be containerized in larger pots or containers (such as empty whiskey barrels). They make a great accent in this manner when surrounded by smaller plants! Split and re-pot every three to five years or so. Keep moist and fertilize fall and spring with our Power Grow fertilizers.
PLANTING AND CARE OF CALLA LILIES (Zantedeschia)
About Calla Lilies
Calla Lilies are native to South Africa and hybridizers have created the summer blooming colored callas, which are sometimes called Mini Callas, although they grow from 8 to 30 inches tall and the flower diameter can be from 1/2 to 3-1/2 inches. Callas come in almost every color!
Callas are grown in two different ways and it’s important to know what kind of calla you have so you know how to care for them.
Growing the Evergreen Species
Evergreen Tuberspica varieties (Aethiopica, Aethiopica Childsiana, Aethiopica Green Goddess) are bog plants, meaning they like a soggy soil, or an almost constantly wet area to grow in.
This Calla is grown as a rhizome and usually outdoors in the garden, and has sort of a fat long bulb looking like a sausage or a hot dog. Small bulblets grow along the side. The rhizome should be grown vertically, with the growing points pointing upward. Check the bulb lets on the side- their pointed ends should point toward the sky.
Plant 3-4 inches deep in full sun to partial shade. Keep the roots cool by top-dressing with mulch. The white flowers appear most often in winter or spring, although they may appear any time.
Flowers can get up to 4 feet tall (rare) and up to 10 inches wide (rare). Usually the flowers are 2-3 feet tall and 4-6 inches wide.
Growing the Colored hybrids
The colored hybrids are also called Mini Callas because their flowers are shorter than Aethiopica. This is something of a misnomer, however, because some blooms can be quite tall (up to 30 inches) and quite large (up to 4 inches).
In any case, these hybrids are grown from a bulb and are summer through early Fall growers and bloomers – although they can be grown grow quite well indoors as a house plant and will bloom indoors during the winter months after a three week rest period. If they are grown outdoors in the garden, they will bloom late Spring and continue blooming into early Fall.
Colored Callas can be grown in full sun all day. However, if it gets too hot they can burn (especially their roots), which you will want to avoid. They grow best in morning sun and afternoon shade. The WORST THING for hybrid or colored Calla bulbs is cold + wet, they will ROT!
If you look at the bulb, one side should be wrinkly or smooth, and the other side should have some circles, with perhaps a tip poking out the middle of the circles. The circles are where the growing points come out. Some varieties have naturally large bulbs and some are small.
Planting hybrids in the garden or landscape soil is not recommended here in the Pacific Northwest due to the heavy rainfall and clay soils. Instead, plant them in large containers or raised grow beds and remove them in the Fall for their rest period (see below). Even if you plant Callas upside down or on their sides, they should sprout and grow just fine, so don’t worry too much. Callas like the sun, but they want their roots to be cool. Do not use black containers or pots.
Once you plant the bulbs, give them a little water and then WAIT until you see a leaf start to poke out of the soil, and then you can give them a little more water. If you water them too much before they start growing, they will rot.
If you grow colored Callas but get no flowers, chances are they need a rest period. Remove the tuber/bulb and store it in a cool, dark area until next Spring (see below). This will give the Calla a “rest period” and should bloom again.
Calla Lilies love and thrive in acidic soil. Therefore your soil should be a pH of 6.0 to 6.5, but neutral or 7.0 will be ok.
Too high a growing temperature can also lead to a lack of flowers, and heat stress can occur at 75 degrees. Plants grow best at 65 degrees day and 55 degrees at night. Remember, these are optimal growing conditions. Warmer conditions require a bit of shade to keep the roots cooler. Wrap the pot or container or move your potted Callas to a cooler location when temperatures will exceed 75 degrees.
You can easily pull the stem away from the tuber, rather than cutting it. Simply grab the stem at or near ground level and gently pull the stem straight up and it will remove itself from the tuber. If the stem does not remove easily, it is not ready to pull…you should cut it.
The flower is non-fragrant and lasts a very long time (up to one month), either on the plant or in a vase. Some varieties are better suited to be cut flowers, but they all can be used to some extent. It is very important to change the water when it becomes cloudy. Using a preservative in the water is best: here is a home recipe I have developed over the years that works:
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon household bleach (kills the stagnation or slime in the water without harming the bloom)
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
1 quart lukewarm water
After your plant blooms, the flower will start to close and turn darker and sometimes turn green on the outside. If you see a tightly furled green bloom, you’ve probably missed the actual blooming. At this point you can cut or pull off the flower by its’ stem or leave it on to form seeds. Enjoy the beautiful foliage for the rest of the summer, though! The leaves are quite lovely, and some of the spotted ones look almost like stained glass.
Removing the dead flower and stem will allow the bulb to start building up for the next year. Make sure you leave the foliage, they provide the nutrients to let the bulb grow and reproduce. Forming seed takes a lot of energy from the plant, so if you want the biggest bulbs next year, remove the stems and flowers.
A bulb has a set number of flowers it will put up, it isn’t like other plants you “dead-head” to have continuous blooms. Different varieties have different amount of blooms- some have only one or two, some will have six or more.
Calla Lily Pests
Because there is no pollen or fragrance, insects such as aphids don’t really affect callas. Occasionally you may see some on the leaves or near the blooms. These can easily be brushed off or treated with an insecticidal soap.
Slugs are the most detrimental pests to Callas. Because they feed at night and usually below the soil or potting mix line on the tuber or bulb, you may not notice a problem until it’s too late. I use a “pet safe organic” slug bait once a month to kill existing slugs and as a preventative measure. I cannot stress the importance of controlling these awful pests…they can destroy all your Calla bulbs/tubers in a matter of days!
The worst disease Callas get is soft rot and Erwinia. Erwinia is a common organism in the soil, but it will rush in and attack if the calla starts to get rot. Therefore it is important to remember Callas rot because 1) they have been overwatered 2) they are overstressed due to their roots getting too hot.
Soft rot is terrible to see- you might have a group of lovely plants and flowers, then suddenly they turn mushy at the soil line and topple over. If you dig the bulbs, they have a terrible odor and are soft and squishy too.
Our Callas are grown to be disease free. However, through-out their lifetime, they may develop some diseases. After digging and splitting your callas, I recommend discarding diseased bulbs so you don’t spread the disease– but in a very few cases the bulb may be saved. Here’s how:
Dig the bulb and rinse it off. A hard spray from a garden hose will do. The rotted areas will come off. You may also cut away the rotted areas then dust it with a fungicide such as Captan or dip the bulb in Cleary’s for no more than 5 minutes. Dry the bulb until all the exposed areas (where the rot came off) have a callus and feel firm.
If you still feel soft areas, cut them away and repeat the drying. As long as you still have a growing tip, you may be able to save the bulb. Once the bulb is completely dry and firm, you can replant and hope for the best. Again, don’t water until the leaves start to show. If it is close to Fall, you may choose to simply store the bulb until the next growing season or bring it inside for winter blooming.
Once rot attacks a Calla bulb, it may wipe out the entire bulb or crop. If you are sure that rot has infected your bulbs, dig them at once and use the method described above.
A lot of time (ten years) has gone into developing our Fall and Spring Power Grow fertilizers for Callas and Lilies. It is the best!
Start by adding our Power Grow Fall Fertilizer to your potting mix before planting the bulb/tuber (see below). Then follow with our Spring fertilizer (see below). In any case, a slow release should be used to feed Callas.
Use our Power Grow Fall Fertilizer blend incorporated into the soil or potting mix at the time of planting. Then follow with another small dose of our Spring Power Grow fertilizer on top of the potting mix two to three weeks later. Follow again with another small dose of our at the six week level and just before the plant begins building its’ bloom stems. Complete directions are on the label.
Be very careful when using liquid fertilizers, especially indoors. You can very easily burn the foliage. Never apply any fertilizer directly to the root system as this will cause root burn.
THE BEST WAY TO GROW CALLA LILIES IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
With the exception of Aethiopica (the evergreen variety most common to the Pacific Northwest) the colored hybrid varieties should be grown in containers or raised beds with well drained potting mix and stored indoors for a rest period. When planting and for best results, use our ready to use Power Grow Potting Mix. It is specifically formulated for the correct Ph level of 6.0 to 6.5, has our Power Grow Fall Fertilizer included. And has other elements in it for more brighter blooms, healthier plants, and more than adequate drainage. Again, I do not recommend leaving the bulbs in their container(s) or in raised beds outdoors during the winter months.
Growing Indoors as a House Plant
- Callas need a rest period. You will need to remove your Calla bulbs at some point in time during or after blooming.
- Remove the stem and flower but leave the foliage on.
- Let your Calla grow for four to six weeks longer.
- Remove, clean, and store the Calla Bulb for three weeks using the methods below.
- Plant in a clean container with new potting mix using the methods below.
***NOTE*** You might get only foliage and no blooms growing with this method.
“Jump Starting” Indoors Then Placing Outdoors
1) Callas need a rest period: Leave your Callas in the containers as long as you can (this will allow them to build for next years blooming period)…set October 10 as the start of the rest period. To build larger bulbs, I recommend removing the stems and flowers (leaving the foliage on) three weeks before their rest period.
2) Remove the tubers and set in a dry place before cleaning.
3) Once the potting mix, foliage, and roots have dried gently clean the tuber. A soft paint brush works well. BE CAREFUL NOT TO BREAK OFF ANY NEW GROW BUDS (THEY ARE YOUR NEXT YEAR’S BLOOMS)!
4) After cleaning, place the bulbs in a paper bag surrounded by slightly damp potting mix or news paper.
5) Place the bagged Calla bulbs in a cool, dry place (such as your garage) for eight weeks or longer or until re-planting in your pots or containers. DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO FREEZE OR DRY OUT wherever you store them.
6) Once replanted, grow indoors until April or May. At first place outdoors in a shady spot for a few days. This allows the plant to adjust to outdoor temperatures without burning the foliage. Then move to a more sunny location.
Limited Six Month Warranty, Shipping Policy, Bulb Orders
Due to the high cost of printing, planting and care guides are provided for all of our plant products for you to download. Please do so before planting any of our bulbs/tubers whether in “take home” pots or Bulbs/tubers/ ordered for pickup next Spring. We will, however, place several care guides (as samples) for you to reference in the check in shed.
All bulb orders are stored over the winter in cold storage to be planted in the Spring to help promote better blooming.
Shipping is an additional cost. All bulb/tuber orders are prepaid and placed over the winter in cold storage to be shipped and planted in the Spring.
We ship UPS or USPS…be sure you have specified which carrier you want and your shipping address is correct when you purchase your bulbs for shipping, and you can ask us for the cost when you place your order. We include material to absorb moisture to prevent rotting. Bulbs are never completely dormant and they should be planted according to our Care Guide as soon as you receive them.
We are not responsible for the treatment of your package by the carrier. As the purchaser, it is your responsibility to inform the carrier of any shipping damage or purchase shipping insurance.
- All bulbs ordered at the festival are prepaid for delivery/shipping the following Spring (starting first week of April).
- We use UPS or USPS as our only shipping agent.
Shipping fees will be added to your order at the time you pay.
- Shipping dates may vary according to current weather conditions.
- We do not ship internationally or to Hawaii, or Canada.
- Take home pots should be planted ASAP and are NOT covered by our warranty if any of our products remain in their pots for an extended period of time (especially over winter).
Pickup at Festival Location
All bulb/tuber orders are prepaid at the festival and will be available the following Spring for pickup at the festival farm location and should be planted asap after you receive your order. Pickup dates will be listed on our web site (http://www.lilyflowerfest.com. and https://www.lilyflowerstore.com.) and you will receive several e-mail notifications (or phone calls for those without e-mail) starting March 1 and ending 30 days later that your order is ready for you to pick up. They will be tagged by name in alphabetical with a copy of your order attached to its’ container or bag. Your order is placed on tables inside the check in shed located by the picnic tables. They will be available at your convenience 7 days per week, 9am to 5pm for 30 days. Orders not picked up after thirty days will be placed back into our inventory for resale. No refunds will be give after 30 day period has expired.
We are NOT responsible for notifications going into your “junk mail” so please check your “junk mail” often! If for some reason you cannot pickup your order within the 30 day period, please let us know and we will keep it in cold storage a bit longer.
Take home pots should be planted ASAP and are NOT covered by our warranty if any of our products remain in their pots for an extended period of time (especially over winter). We offer a limited six month warranty for any product you purchase if planted and cared for in a proper and responsible manner. Any product that you are not completely satisfied with, simply notify us within the six month limited warranty period, notify us by e-mail, return your items at the festival location, and we will either replace your items or give you a full refund. Shipping fees are not refundable. Since nursery stock is perishable, it is your responsibility, as the purchaser, to strictly adhere to your planting/care guide downloaded from http://www.lilyflowerfest.com or https://www.lilyflowerstore.com. Our warranty does not cover acts of God, frost, draught or any other severe environmental conditions, human carelessness, animal/pest damage, leaving your bulbs in the purchased pot outdoors or/and over winter.
We warranty our products to be true to name, to be in healthy living condition and packaged properly at the time of shipment or your purchase. We are a licensed nursery, inspected by the Oregon Department of Agriculture frequently, and all of our products are certified to be free of insects and contagious plant diseases.