Lilies are a group of perennial flowering plants that have become a favorite bulb in many gardens. Their flowers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and scents. Many varieties are excellent for cut flower arrangements thanks to their long, stout stems. You can plant lily bulbs in the fall, or in the spring as soon as the soil is soft enough to work.
Decide where you are going to plant the lilies. Lilies prefer full sun for best growth. They also need soil that will provide excellent drainage. If in doubt, try and find a site that is on a south- or southwest-facing slope.
Loosen and aerate the soil in the planting site using a shovel, fork or rototiller down to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, as suggested by the National Gardening Association.
Lay out over the planting site a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost or aged steer manure. This will help improve both the drainage and fertility of the soil. Lilies prefer slightly acidic soil. To increase acidity, lay out approximately 2 inches of sphagnum peat moss over the soil. Mix amendments into the soil using the fork or shovel.
Create planting holes 6 inches deep and approximately 8 to 18 inches apart, depending on what variety of lily bulb you are planting.
Plant one lily bulb into each planting hole. Make sure the pointy end of each bulb is facing upwards.
Spread the roots of each bulb out across the soil in each planting hole to help eliminate air pockets while you cover up each lily bulb with approximately 4 inches of soil.
Water the planting bed immediately after you finish planting all the lily bulbs.
Push in 10- to 12-inch high planting stakes around the perimeter of the site. This will mark the area so you will know exactly where to watch for the sprouting lily bulbs.