Lilies are a real splendor both in pots and in summer beds. But without the right care, you will not be able to enjoy their wonderful flowers.
Lilies ( Lilium ) are frugal and beautiful summer bloomers in the bed, which apart from a little skill in watering do not have a lot of care demands. Even overwintering in a bed is not a problem for many species. If you don’t have a bed for the flowers, you can cultivate small species in pots. However, this is associated with a bit more maintenance.
Because lilies in pots are a bit more demanding, especially when it comes to the supply of nutrients. After all, the supreme discipline is caring for a houseplant. But with our helpful tips, you can also master this challenge. Of course, a few things should be considered when choosing the location or the variety. That is why you will find everything you need to know about growing the queen among the flowering plants here.
So that your lilies can show their full bloom, you will find out everything you need to know about watering, fertilizing, and wintering lilies, both in the bed and in pots, below. We also clarify whether you should remove dead flowers.
Watering lilies: how much water do lilies need?
Lilies do need some attention when it comes to water supplies. The magnificent flowers like it nice and moist, but are very sensitive to waterlogging. The soil should therefore be well permeable to water. It is best to layout a drainage layer made of gravel or potsherds at the bottom of the planting hole when you are planting.
Otherwise, the plants tend to quickly develop base rot and die. Since the lily bulbs lack a firm flake, they tend to dry out faster than other bulb flowers. On the one hand, this plays a role in storing the onions, but it should also not be ignored when watering. Because you should never let the substrate around the onion dry out completely. In summer this means reaching for the watering can every day. How often you have to water ultimately depends on many factors, such as the weather or the substrate. In general, however, it can be said: lilies are watered as soon as the soil around the plant has dried on the surface.
Fertilize lilies: when, how often & with what fertilize lilies?
To grow tall, strong, and beautiful, lilies need proper nutrition. When with what and how much is fertilized ultimately decides to a considerable extent how many lily flowers will decorate your garden and how many years your lily can maintain this splendor. Especially with onion flowers such as lilies, when it comes to fertilizing, too much of a good thing is not always beneficial. It is also advisable to mix compost under the soil when planting.
Fertilizing lilies: when and how often?
In terms of fertilization, lilies are really easy to care for, but they are still considered to be heavy consumers of bulb flowers. Therefore it is fertilized twice a year. The fertilization takes place in spring. The first fertilization takes place before the onions sprout. It is best to choose a sunny day with no ground frost. The second time is fertilized during the shoot.
Note: The third fertilization in summer, at the latest in August, should prolong the flowering.
Fertilizing lilies: the right fertilizer
When fertilizing, you have the choice between a mineral or an organic fertilizer. Both have their advantages, but especially with frugal onion plants, the rapid and concentrated availability of nutrients in mineral fertilizers is more harmful. The organic variant, on the other hand, scores with a slow release of nutrients over time and a long-term promotion of soil life.
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If you rely on an organic-mineral flower fertilizer with organic certification, you benefit from the advantages of both fertilizer variants. The combination can achieve an optimal fertilizing effect: a quick effect with simultaneous soil care, the prevention of leaching and over-fertilization, a natural long-term effect, and conservation of resources.
The special thing about organic-mineral organic fertilizers is that they only use mineral components that are also permitted in organic farming and can even contain living microorganisms. Organic flower fertilizer with long-term effects is also such an organic fertilizer. In this way, you can optimally supply your lilies with nutrients and at the same time protect the environment and promote soil life.
As an alternative to an organic-mineral bio-fertilizer, you can also fertilize with ripe manure, horn shavings, and compost. However, never use fresh manure as lilies are sensitive to this.
Summary of fertilizing lilies:
- When? In the spring
- How often? Once before budding, once when budding
- By which? Mineral-organic organic fertilizer, ripe manure, horn shavings, or compost
Care for the lilies in the pot
Care in the pot does not differ much from care in the bed. After all, they are still plants of the same species with the same demands. But an environment that meets the requirements of the lily can be created differently in the pot than in the bed. It is poured as with planted lilies. The watering can is used as soon as the upper layer of soil has dried out. It should also be noted that the selected pot has a drainage hole.
Otherwise, the risk of waterlogging is even greater than in the bed. You can also use organic fertilizer for lilies in pots. In general, pot cultures are fertilized more often than lilies in beds, as they only have a limited storage volume and are therefore depleted more quickly.
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Maintain lilies as a houseplant
In a beautiful, sunny place without direct sunlight, lilies in the pot can also thrive in the house and enchant the room with their lovely scent. As a houseplant, however, lilies cost the human need for care a little more than they would in the garden. So that your lily becomes an impressive houseplant anyway, there are a few things to consider when caring for it:
- Temperatures: 15 – 20 ° C
- Watering: Always keep the substrate moist, no waterlogging
- Fertilization: Vegetation phase: every 2 – 3 weeks with a low-nitrogen complete fertilizer in the irrigation water; for bud formation once with flowering fertilizer in the irrigation water
- Pruning: cleaning out withered inflorescences, pruning back in autumn
- Winter: cool, dark place at approx. 10 ° C
Too warm temperatures and dried-out soil quickly lead to the shedding of flowers. Why it is considered difficult to care for lilies as houseplants over the long term. The pruning takes place in autumn when the above-ground parts of the plant have withered.
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It is cut back with a clean and sharp knife to a hand’s breadth above the ground. The rest period must be observed in winter. How to overwinter in the pot is explained in more detail in the section “Overwintering lilies & caring for them in winter”.
Note: Lilies are known for incredible amounts of pollen that load in yellow waves on furniture and the noses of allergy sufferers. Filled varieties such as ‘Miss Lucy’, ‘Blushing Girl’ or ‘Annemarie’s Dream’ offer a wonderful alternative here.
Caring for lilies: pruning dead flowers
If you do not want to use seeds to propagate your lilies, dead flowers are cut off. Cleaning up prevents seed formation. This otherwise costs the plant a lot of energy, which you could also store for next year. In the case of potted and bedding plants, the remaining above-ground parts of the plant are only cut off after they have wilted. So that the nutrients it contains can migrate into the onion during wilting. That means even more energy for the coming flowering season.
Hibernate lilies and care for them in winter
How lilies planted out in the garden are overwintered depends on whether your lily is hardy or not. In the case of hardy varieties, the onions can remain in the bed through the winter. After the first frost, just cut off the withered leaves a hand’s breadth above the ground.
Then a protective layer of brushwood, straw, or twigs is spread over the bed. The onions of non-winter hardy varieties must be dug up before the first frost and stored indoors over the winter. Even potted lilies, whether houseplant or balcony greening, are stored in a cool, dark, and frost-free place over the winter.