Stargazer lilies get their name because the flower faces skyward rather than drooping like many lily flowers. This feature had made the stargazer lily a very popular cut flower and it is used extensively in the florist trade. It is probably the most popular Oriental lily in the world. Stargazer lilies can be grown in almost any climate where the ground can be worked and there are at least 120 successive days of above-freezing temperatures. Stargazer lily bulbs are easily available from bulb catalogs and online. The cost of one bulb can range from $2 to $5, depending on the size of the bulb. Plant stargazer lily bulbs in the fall.
Locate a well-drained area in the garden that receives at least six hours of sun each day and is protected from high winds because stargazer lilies grow to 5 feet tall and produce up to five large flowers per stem. This makes the stems top heavy and prone to breakage in windy locations. If you would like to stake the plants to protect them from breakage, place your stakes in the ground before planting the bulbs. A location in the back of the garden is best because the unattractive dying foliage must stay on the plants after they bloom to provide energy for next season's growth.
Clear the area of all weeds and competing plants and add 2 inches of compost over the area and work into the soil. Add a fertilizer that is specific to bulbs to the bulb-planting location. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer container. Adding some fertilizers directly to the planting holes where the bulbs have contact with the fertilizer can damage the bulbs.
Plant the lily bulbs in groups of five for an attractive look and because the leaves shade the ground to keep the roots cool. Space the bulbs 6 to 8 inches apart. Space groups of stargazer lily bulbs 2 to 3 feet apart. Plant the bulbs 6 inches deep from the top of the bulb. This allows the stem to have enough soil around the base to keep it from falling over. Cover the newly planted bulbs with soil and compost mixture.
Add a 1-inch layer of mulch over the lily bulbs to conserve moisture, protect from cold temperatures, and keep weeds under control. The lilies should begin to grow through the mulch as the soil warms in the spring. If staking the plants, use low-impact plastic garden tape to tie the plans to the garden stakes. String or twine can easily cut through or crush the lily stems.
Harvest the stems when one or two blooms are open. Do not cut more than 1/2 of the stem because the bulb needs the greenery for energy to develop next year's growth. If you are not cutting the stems for cut flowers, cut off the old blooms anyway. Don't allow the plant to go to seed because the plant uses all its energy to create seed rather than more bulbs. Divide lily bulbs every few years if their performance in the garden starts to diminish. To divide, carefully dig up the bulbs in the fall and gently pull them apart. Replant at the recommended space and depth.