FAQ on growing lilies



How do I plant my lily bulbs?

Lilies are very hardy bulbs. They can tolerate very cold conditions but do not like to get wet. If planting in borders the soil must be free draining and preferably humus rich. Some lilies prefer acid soil, mainly Oriental lilies, and some prefer alkaline mainly Asiatic lilies. It is best to check which soil you have. When planting in pots or tubs you must make sure that they are kept moist but do not get waterlogged. Plant bulbs with 4-6″ (10-15cm) of soil above them. If planting in pots, plant 3 in a 10-14″ (25-35cm) pot, in a good-quality, peat-free, multi-purpose compost. John Innes No.3 is ideal for Lilies also. If it appears too dense, add some horticultural grit to improve drainage.

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Helpful tips on growing lilies


Planting your lilies couldn’t be easier once you have chosen the right soil for the variety.

Simply plant with the growing tip pointing upwards and the roots below and cover the top of the bulb with 4-6” (10-15cm) of soil. 

If planting in pots, plant 3 bulbs in a 10-14” (25-35cm) ‘patio type’ pot. You can plant more in a larger pot or less in a smaller pot. It really depends on the display you would like to achieve. You can also stagger the planting, using different lilies to achieve different heights.

Which lilies are best for your garden


Luscious Lilies for your garden pots or borders

Whether you’re a fan of scented or unscented; tall or short; subtle or bold colours, there’s a  lily for everyone. I often get asked how to choose a lily and I guess this is where I start…

Where are you thinking of planting your lilies?

Asiatic Lilies

Firstly, where would you like to grow your lilies? Pots or garden borders? If you’re planning on planting up your lily bulbs in pots for your patio (or making a pot feature around your garden), then the world is your oyster when it comes to lily choice. This is because different lilies like different soil types. Therefore, you can choose any lily and just mix up the right soil/compost for it. Lilies are generally happy in a good-quality, peat-free, multi-purpose compost. This leads me to the next question…

Lilium Majestic Joy

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Which lilies are scented?


Eyeliner Longiflorum x Asiatic Lily with slight fragrance.
Samantha Roselily
Scented Roselily Samantha

How to tell if a lily will be scented or not

There are many different types of lilies, some that are scented and some that are not. Oriental Lilies do tend to carry the strongest fragrance although other varieties can have just as strong a perfume. Oriental x Trumpets, Longiflorums, Trumpets and Double Orientals including Roseilies all carry a fantastic perfume. Continue reading

When to lift and move lilies

This question was asked by
Geoffrey G

When is the best time to move lily bulbs Speaking to your staff at Newby Hall flower show I was told that the white lily oricle is better than casa blanca. have you got any stock of it?

I would let your lilies die back completely and then lift and move them. This will most likely be the end of Autumn.

Our Oracle lily can be found here:
Lily ‘Oracle’ (SKU176162)

Oracle Lily

The Hart Family

Dahlias for pre-order

This question was asked by
David H

I have been recommended you by a friend who has grown your dahlia for many years, I see they are all out of stock, is that for this year and you are not yet taking orders for 2022? If so when do tubers become available to order for next Spring please.
Many thanks,
David Hall

Hi DavidAh that’s nice of your friend to recommend us. The dahlias should be available to pre-order in the next month or so, please check back again.




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What compost or mix of composts do I use for the lilies?

This question was asked by
Elizabeth B

I have just ordered some Oriental lily bulbs from you to grow in large clay pots. What is the best compost to use? Do I need to add sand as some sites advise? How do I prevent the dreaded Lily Beetle?? I can start them in a cold greenhouse.

Hi there,
You can mix John Innes No.3 with a good quality Multi-purpose compost (50:50 mix). Adding horticultural grit for drainage is recommended.

We have a Grazers G4 spray or concentrate you can purchase for the lily beetle.

Lily Beetle Prevention Concentrate (SKU179721)

Lily Beetle Prevention Spray (SKU17972)

Lily bulbs

The Hart Family


This question was asked by
Ivan john B

THANK YOU FOR THE DAFFODIL BULBS. SUPER QUALITY, PERFECT. YOU NEVER MENTIONED HOW LONG IT WOULD TAKE ME TO PLANT THEM. Ian and I finally completed the process yesterday and not a single bad bulb in the lot!
Have long will it take to harvest them?
Take care all of you. Pleased to see you all and so busy at Harrogate. You deserve it.
Super quality, good prices and polite obliging staff. Always a pleasure to trade with you.

Thank you Ivan and thank you for all the treats you brought us 🙂

Your daffs will be up in the Spring.

Narcissus Jetfire

Narcissus Jetfire

The Hart Family

Calla lilies

This question was asked by
Linda S

My calla lilies bought from you have been fantastic this year. They are planted in garden but can I leave them there to bloom again next year? Do I cut stems to ground when needed?

Hi there,

You can find all planting and care instructions for your Calla lilies here:

How to plant and care for Calla Lilies

Calla Lily – Zantedeschia

The Hart Family

Lily bulb storage/over wintering

This question was asked by
Noel W – 

Hi all, hope everyone is well there, for many years i have always left my potted lilies, the ones I use for cutting, to just die down naturally in the pots under cover in the barn having fed them virtually up to the leaves browning, i lost a lot of bulbs to the wet winters we get here in Ireland a few years back hence the barn storage, the question, is there a better way to overwinter them to get better bulbs in spring, for example remove from pots and dry store them, or would that affect the bulblets and when should the mother bulb be discarded or does it not matter, regards Noel.

Hi Noel

We advise leaving the bulbs in soil over winter. They like a cold dormant phase, so your barn sounds perfect. Give them a fresh top layer of compost each year. After 3 years you will need to divide your bulbs and break off the bulblets and replant them all.

You will notice the mother bulb will get weaker over time, you will then need to replace them.

Lilies after flowering

The Hart Family


This question was asked by
Jane Spree – 

I have had a variety of your fabulous lilies for a couple of years in pots – I want to move them onto new soil and pots. Today I removed them from the original pots and want some guidance on what to do next please? Storage? When should I replant ? Type of compost etc etc?

They need keeping in soil at all times so plant them back up as soon as possible giving them some fresh compost. A good-quality, multi-purpose compost mixed with John Innes No. 3 (50/50) is a good mix for all lilies. You can add some horticultural grit as well for good drainage.

Your lilies will be happy to stay outside during the winter, they just don’t let to get waterlogged as they will rot.


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This question was asked by
Candace W – 

I just wanted to get in touch to say how much my family and I have enjoyed the fabulous scents in our garden this summer after planting about 30 mixed lily bulbs bought from you for a new border we created. It has been glorious and although only one lily is still in flower, we are hoping for another wonderful display next year.
Many thanks indeed!

Hi Candace

Thank you so much for taking the time to email us and letting us know of your pleasure with your lilies. We are so pleased to hear it!

Lily wall

The Hart Family

Lily x Rose

This question was asked by
Marlyn P – 

I am looking for the lily combined with a rose. My sister in law showed me a photograph, it was beautiful. I have tried finding it on your website,no luck. Lililium and lily come up. I hope I will be able to make a purchase of it.
Regards Marlyn.

You can find all the Roselilies here:


Roselily Natalia
The Hart Family