Lily plants provide a colorful addition to the home landscape and require only basic maintenance to grow and thrive. Lilies produce abundant blossoms on the ends of their thick, narrow stems. Their fragrant, bell- or trumpet-shaped blooms appear in a variety of colors including white, yellow, orange, red, maroon and bi-colors. The hardiness of lily plants varies, though most types survive winter to USDA zone 3. For the best results, check the particular variety for hardiness. Regardless of the variety, all lilies share similar care requirements.
Plant lilies during spring or fall in a location that receives full sunlight throughout the day and has well-drained soil. Apply a 2-inch layer of organic compost over the planting site and use a garden tiller to amend the soil, which increases drainage to necessary levels. Space lily plants 8 to 12 inches apart.
Water lilies thoroughly once every seven days to prevent the soil from drying out completely. Ensure that no standing water remains after application, or the plant may rot. Applying about 2 inches of water per week is usually sufficient. Do not water lily plants during winter.
Feed lily plants once per year during early spring, using a 5-10-10 NPK slow-release fertilizer to gradually release nutrients throughout the growing season. Follow the manufacturer's directions for the best results and water just after application to prevent root burn.
Removed faded and dead lily flowers whenever possible to improve the plant's appearance and overall health, as the old blossoms will leech nutrients from the bulb to form seeds. Pinch off the flowers where the base meets the stem to minimize damage.
Spread a 4- to 6-inch layer of mulch around fall-planted lilies just before the first frost of the season to help the bulbs survive their first winter. Remove the mulch the following spring when all danger of frost is over or when the plants begin to grow through the mulch.