Category Archives: Summer Garden

How to Grow Lilies

Oriental Trumpet Lily ‘Anastasia’
https://www.hartsnursery.co.uk/Oriental-Trumpet-Lilies/

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?

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 for it. This leads me to the next question…

Scented or unscented?

Do you prefer to have the gorgeous scent filling your garden in the summer months or are you just hooked on having a garden bursting with vibrant colour? These are the two clear differentiators in my mind. So, if you’re the latter then the unscented Asiatic lilies are the clear winners when it comes to bold and beautiful colour. Asiatics vary from bright yellows and oranges to the deepest dark reds as well as two-toned lilies. But if it’s the perfume you just can’t resist, then the Oriental lilies and Roselilies are your best pick. Oriental lilies come in a palette of pinks, whites and even yellows. Some are amazingly decorative too.

Tall or short?

If you’re happy to have either colour or scent, then you may want to ask yourself how tall you would you like your lilies to be? There’s short varieties (known as Pot lilies or Dwarf lilies) in both Asiatic or Oriental, and you can even produce a spectacular display of Tree-like lilies which can reach up to an impressive height of 7ft.

Do you know your soil type?

When it comes to planting your lilies in your garden borders, you will need to know which soil type you have as this will affect the growth of the lilies. The one key rule for where ever you are growing lilies is well-drained soil. They must have plenty of drainage to avoid the bulbs from rotting. Asiatic lilies prefer an alkaline soil and Orientals an acidic soil. If you are unsure of your soil type, then we would advise planting in pots or opting for any of the hybrid lilies like the Oriental trumpets (tree-like lilies), Longiflorum Asiatics or Longiflorum Orientals. All of which are equally gorgeous and happy in any well-drained soil! 

Helpful tips on growing lilies

Lily Bulbs need planting with the tip pointing upwards and the roots down.

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.

Lilies can tolerate very cold conditions but they do not like to get wet. 

Most lilies prefer to be planted in a location with at least half a day’s full sunshine, if it’s a bit too shady they will lean their stems towards the sun. Unless you have Martagon lilies, as these actually like their head in the sun but feet in the shade. 

When the Lily has finished flowering, cut any seed heads back and allow the foliage to die back naturally. Do not be tempted to cut the stem back until stems become hollow and brown.

Believe it or not, lilies like a cold-dormant phase and like to be left where they are during winter, just ensure there is adequate drainage so they can’t get waterlogged. Lilies are very hardy and can tolerate up to -20°c.

Many people have lilies for a cut flower garden, if you do wish to cut lilies for indoor arrangements, then ensure to leave 50cm of stem to allow for another season of flower the following year. 

Red Scarlet lily Beetle Lilioceris lilii

To prevent Lily Beetles from damaging your lilies, we recommend using the Lily Beetle Prevention Spray or you can make up your own with the Concentrate. This Spray (Grazers G4) will also stimulate growth of your lilies.

You can feed your lilies with a Tomato Feed to stimulate and strengthen your lilies when you start to see signs of growth. Make up your tomato feed with half the recommended dilution (written on the instructions on the bottle) and feed once every 3 weeks. 

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 multi-purpose compost. John Innes No.3 is ideal for Lilies. You can find planting instructions for every variety of flowering bulbs at the bottom of every product page on our website.

Do I need to feed my lilies?

If you want to feed your lilies then a slow release fertilizer is best. Also a general tomato feed has shown to be beneficial for lily growth, use 1/2 the dilution recommended on the bottle. Or use the Lily Beetle Prevention Spray which has great results for strengthening and stimulating lily growth.

How do I get rid of the Lily Beetle?

We recommend using the Lily Beetle Prevention Spray. The key is to be vigilant and keep checking your foliage each day when you can.

Do Lilies multiply?

Lilies do multiply but if in containers will need lifting every 2 or 3 years as they will become pot bound. Lift the bulbs out of the soil and carefully pull off any attached bulblets. Replant the original bulbs. You can also plant the bulblets, but bare in mind these will take a couple of years to become established.

Are Lilies poisonous to cats?

Lily pollen is poisonous to cats but it has to be ingested. Cats are very clever animals and will very rarely eat anything they are unsure about. There are also numerous lilies now that are pollen free including our Roselilies and Double Oriental Lilies. If you’re worried then just nip the stamen out of the lily as it opens.

Do I lift my Lily bulbs over winter?

Lilies do not like to be dried out, they must be kept in soil at all times. Lilies, in fact, like a cold dormant phase and are happy to stay out in the winter. If you are worried about leaving them out in the borders over winter, lift them and store them in peat until replanting the following spring. A good tip is to tilt your pots on their sides over winter, lifting them upright again in the spring, preventing them becoming waterlogged.

Lily Bulb collections

This question was asked by
Katie Wright

Hi,

I was wondering, if I buy a tree lily bulb collection, will the bulbs be identified/separated? Sorry if this sounds like a daft question but I just wanted to make sure!

Thanks,
Katie

No it’s not a daft question at all… the tree lily collection is separated and individually labelled. But some of the mixed packs (like the Dazzling whites for example are not) as they are just a mix of white lilies and combined at a discounted price.

‘Tree like’ Lily Bulb Collection (Pack of 12 Bulbs) (harts1152)

The Hart Family

Planting out my lilies

This question was asked by
L. Hunt

Trust you are all safe and well. Due to the very wet autumn and winter, our new garden is still not ready for planting. I have started both my Lilies and Dahlias in pots. Will I be able to transplant into my new garden in May or will I have to grow them on in pots for this season?
Kind Regards
Lesley

Good morning,
Yes we are all well thank you. Hope you are too. If you have already planted your dahlias and lilies in pots, then I would advise keeping them in pots for the rest of their flowering season. You can then move them and replant them in your garden once everything has died back ,This is usually the end of Autumn.

The Hart Family

Double pollen free lillies

This question was asked by
Judy Kent

Have you still got these lillies in stock? I would like to order 5 pink and 5 white double. I live in France and would like them sent here.

Yes we do and we are still delivering. Please order online as usual and we will have them dispatched within 5 working days. A few suggestions below for you:

Lily ‘Amistad’ (harts105311)

Roselily ‘Aisha’ (SKU176191)

The Hart Family

Tree Lillies

This question was asked by
Harry Devey

Hi Why do some Tree Lillies require Ericacious Soil? They dont seem as forward growing as the others.

Regards, Harry Devey

Tree lilies are actually happy in any well-drained soil. It’s oriental lilies that prefer an acidic soil.

The Hart Family

Tulip bulbs

This question was asked by
Suzanna ogden

Hi, what time of year do you normally have tulip bulbs for sale please?

Thanks

Stay safe

Our tulip bulbs will be available to purchase in the Summer. By July, ready for planting them in the Autumn.

The Hart Family

Flowers for hanging baskets

This question was asked by
Abi

Hi,

I was wondering if you had any flowers / plants ready to pot into hanging baskets? A friend has said you are currently delivering.

Thanks,

Abi

Hi there,
We are delivering still yes. We have begonia corms you can plant in your hanging baskets.

Begonia Pendula (Pack of 15 Corms) (SKU17706)

The Hart Family

Care of lilies and when to replant

This question was asked by
Gillian Trussell

Lilies in a pot from last year, sprouting well at this time. Should I dig them out from the pot and replant? They flowered well last year. I bought them from you at the Hampton court garden fest.
many thanks

No need to lift your lily bulbs and replant them for a few years. Leave them as they are for this year.

The Hart Family

Thank you

This question was asked by
Amy Hudson

Good morning
I just wanted to thank you for your fabulous service and quality bulbs. At this time there are many of us who will take more comfort from their gardens than previously and it’s important to have businesses like yourselves supplying us in what are such strange times. I can’t wait for my new lilies to emerge! Keep up the good work and stay safe!

You’re very welcome! Thank you for the lovely words. It means a lot.

The Hart Family

Happy customer

This question was asked by
J. Ward

We purchased tulip bulbs from you at the Harrogate Autumn flower show last year.

The monotrous – yellow are in a pot facing our kitchen window and giving us a great deal of pleasure.
Looking forward to the other varieties blooming in the near future.
Many thanks.

Oh how lovely – thank you for emailing us. It is so lovely to hear from our customers we won’t be seeing this year due to the cancellation of the flower shows.

The Hart Family