How to Plant Lilium Bulbs


There are many members of the lilium family that bloom from spring to fall in a variety of colors, in a variety of climate zones. Before you plant lilium bulbs, it pays to take a few moments to consider which varieties are right for your garden. Choose varieties that are suited to your climate zones and consider the flower's height, color and the time of year that it blooms to maximize the aesthetic appeal of your garden.

Step 1

Test the soil. If you have not grown lilies here before, take a soil sample into your local county extension office for testing. You may need to add a few soil amendments before planting to make the ground suitable for growing the type(s) of lily you intend to plant.

Step 2

Use a hand tiller or rototiller to till the lily bed to a depth of 8 inches. Remove any rocks, plant tissue or other debris that you encounter and break up any large clumps of dirt.

Step 3

Spread 2 inches of aged compost or any other amendments that your soil test recommends.

Step 4

Till the soil again, to a depth of 8 inches, then rake it smooth.

Step 5

Plant your lilium bulbs, root-side down. Small lilium bulbs should be covered with 2 to 4 inches of soil. Large lilium bulbs should be covered with 4 to 6 inches of soil. Space neighboring bulbs at least 8 inches apart.

Step 6

Water the bulbs so that the soil is moist to the depth of the bulb's roots.

Step 7

Spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the lily's planting area if you expect freezing weather after you plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand tiller or rototiller
  • Aged compost
  • Rake
  • Trowel
  • Hose


  • University of Minnesota: Selecting Lilies for your Garden
  • The Lily Garden: Growing Lilies
  • Pacific Bulb Society: North American Lilium
Keywords: plant lilium, lilium bulbs, lily bulbs, plant lilies

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.