How to Care for Oriental Lilies Indoors


Oriental lilies offer large, fragrant flowers, adding an exotic scent to a home in mid to late summer when the plant blooms. They can reach 3 to 6 feet tall and come in shades of white, pink or crimson splashed with contrasting colors, according to University of Iowa Extension. These plants grow well both indoors and outdoors, but indoors the gardener can control the environment more easily. Knowledge of what this plant needs to thrive will help you produce long-lasting blooms.

Step 1

Fill a large, well-drained pot with a potting medium, such as 50 percent peat, 25 percent sandy loam, and 25 percent pumice. This will provide a porous, well-drained potting medium with the slightly acidic pH lilies prefer.

Step 2

Plant the Oriental lily bulb 2 to 3 inches deep in this potting medium. Any shallower and the flower will not bloom properly. Tamp down the soil firmly, but gently, after planting to ensure that the bulb stays put. Place the lily in a south- or east-facing window with filtered sunlight.

Step 3

Water the lily deeply after planting. Keep the lily uniformly moist, but not soaking wet, for the first three weeks after planting. When the shoot is 3 to 6 inches tall the root system is well-established and the plant can withstand slightly more or slightly less water.

Step 4

Fertilize the lily sparingly. The bulb usually provides enough nutrients for the plants up to the time of flowering. Once flower buds become visible, fertilize with a well-balanced liquid fertilizer with the amounts recommended on the package. Well-balanced fertilizers will have the same three numbers listed on their packages, such as 6-6-6 or 8-8-8. These numbers represent the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the fertilizer. Fertilize again 14 days later to darken the foliage. Do not over-fertilize or the stems will become weak.

Step 5

Slow down watering and fertilizing in the fall, gradually stopping, so the bulb can go dormant for the winter. Begin watering again in early spring so the Oriental lily can come back with vigor.

Things You'll Need

  • Large, well-drained pot
  • Peat
  • Sandy loam
  • Pumice
  • Water
  • Fertilizer


  • Iowa State University Extension: Garden Lilies
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Production of Hybrid Asiatic and Oriental Lilies
  • Colorado State University: Container Gardens
Keywords: oriental lily care, container lily care, fertilizing oriental lilies, watering oriental lilies

About this Author

Sarah Morse recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature. She has been freelancing for three months and got her start writing for an environmental website.