How to Grow Lilies

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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/compost for it. Lilies are generally happy in a good-quality, peat-free, multi-purpose compost. This leads me to the next question…

Scented or unscented Lilies?

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.

Roselily Felicia

Tall or short Lilies?

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

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. 

Lilies are generally happy in a good-quality, peat-free, multi-purpose compost.

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. 

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

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.

Some lilies are lime-haters (e.g. L. Auratum and L. Speciosum), and should be potted into pure ericaceous compost. John Innes ericaceous compost is recommended.

Lilies are heavy feeders, so add granules of a controlled-release fertiliser when planting.

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 and dogs?

Lilies are toxic to cats and dogs if consumed (like a lot of plants). Lilies should be kept out of reach of small children as well. Lily pollen is poisonous to cats and dogs but it has to be ingested. Cats/dogs 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 and avoid placing them where pets can brush past the stamen and get it on their fur.

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.

Wow what a year!

Happy New Year everyone!
We are hoping this year will be as exceptional as 2019 was for us. We received Gold Medals at every show in the floral marquee… that’s a total of 10 shiny Gold Medalsfor 2019! We also achieved 5 Star awards for all of our 8 Plant Village Exhibits including the Best Exhibit at the RHS Cardiff Flower Show.  At the beginning of 2019, we were awarded the ‘Lawrence Trophy’ and the ‘Mrs. T E Rivis Prize’ for our cut flower display at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2018. And to add the icing on the cake, the most prestigious award for us was the coveted ‘Presidents Award’ at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, which was so overwhelming and unexpected! The year finished with a feature on the BBC’s Gardeners World about our nursery and exhibit at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show. Here’s hoping that 2020 will be as successful as last year! Judging by the amazing new varieties we have for this year, it could well be!
So it’s the start of a new gardening year and it’s now time to start thinking about planting summer flowering bulbs, especially our highly-awarded ‘Lilies‘. Our new lilies will be added to our website soon so please check back …

Discover Our New Lilies For 2019

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New Lilies for 2019

Last Summer we asked you to vote on Facebook for your favourite lily from some potential new varieties for 2019! Well, here they are in order of popularity. All these new lilies are available on our website to order for delivery in February 2019. 


 

Mother's Day made easy

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Mother’s Day is this Sunday, yes Sunday 11th March 2018 if it had slipped your calendar! But don’t worry, we have the perfect solution for a gift for a garden-loving mum! Either today, before Sunday or even on Mothering Sunday itself, you can simply order your loved one a Gift Certificate from Harts Nursery and they will receive it straight away!

How to order a Gift Certificate
Simply click on this link and complete the form and hey presto… an email will be sent to your mum, friend or family member with the Gift Certificate attached as a link with your personal message enclosed. Your, mum, friend or family member can then order their favourite garden bulbs from our website straight away. How easy is that?

Happy Mother’s Day from all at Harts Nursery.

 

Our lilies captured on film

We thought you might like to see a video of our lilies, alliums and eremurus that we displayed at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show back in 2015. Our friends at The Round Group spent the day with us filming our stands and capturing our stunning flowers on film to share with you. See what you think:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YPS_i6p1_k&w=560&h=315]
And here’s a throw back to when we were featured on the BBCs Great British Garden Revival with James Wong presenting it. James came to visit our nursery to see how and what we grow. He was fascinated by our lilies and just how easy they are to grow.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt0_AsNjUxc&w=560&h=315]

Shows, shows and more shows…

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Well we had a blast at the Harrogate Flower Show, even with the rain! It’s all over now until the Spring show 2018!
We’re now over in Ireland at the National Ploughing Championships with a our faithful Mascot ‘Daisy the Cow’. Daisy travels everywhere with us. If you spot her on your travels when visiting our stands, do take a photo and send it over to us on Facebook #SpotDaisy


Next we are exhibiting at the RHS Malvern Flower Show for all your spring flowering bulb needs. We have some great Hyacinth bulbs that have been prepared to have indoors for Christmas or just plant them in your garden (or pots on your patio) for a lovely burst of colour in the spring.
Hyacinthus Jan Bos im Topf
Don’t forget we have all our Spring bulbs available online to order now and we will be starting to dispatch at the end September!
 
 

Start of Autumn…

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Autumn and what to plant

The temperature is dropping, days are getting shorter and the leaves are changing colour – all signs that summer is drawing to a close. But when does autumn actually start? Well it’s the 1st September if you go by the meteorological calendar or 23rd September based on the Astronimical calendar. If, like us, you’re wondering what the difference is, the meteorological calendar is more simplified and splits up the four seasons into three month blocks and the Astronomers base the date of the seasons upon autumnal equinox, when night and day are roughly equal length. So either way, Autumn is upon us! And its time to start thinking about your Spring garden as our glorious spring flowers like to be planted throughout the Autumn (Sept, Oct, Nov).

Here’s a little break down of what you can plant this Autumn to have some colour in your garden month by month:

January-February: CrocusSnowdrops, 


February-March: Narcissus,  Leucojum Aestivum

 
March-April: Tulips,  Cyclamen,  Puschkinia, Anemone Blanda, Chinodoxa,
Erythronium Pagoda

April- May: FritillariaHyacinthoides Non-Scripta ‘Blue Bells’, Alliums

May +: CamassiaEremurus

Martagon Lilies

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We now have our stunning Martagons available to order as well. With a few new varieties to choose from. Our Martagons will also be dispatched in the Autumn for planting throughout the months of Sept, Oct and Nov. Martagons are ideal for woodland type gardens. These special Lilies grow especially well in dappled shade in Humus-rich, Alkaline soil. They naturalize really well and are long lived and hardy.

 
Happy Gardening!
Harts Nursery 🙂