Lilies (Lilium) grow from bulbs, which have overlapping, fleshy scales that provide no real protection for the bulb. Lily bulbs suffer damage or die when not properly cared for. The proper care of lily bulbs extends further than just providing healthy soil conditions, nutrients, sunlight and water. Incorporate a layer of organic mulching material into the flowerbed as part of the maintenance plan for lily bulbs.
Apply a 4- to 6-inch layer of organic mulching material around the base of lily bulbs to provide protection from extreme temperatures. Lilies grow best in full sun, but excessive soil temperatures damage the lily's bulb and roots. Spread the mulch around the base of the plant to shade the soil. The ideal time to plant lily bulbs is during the fall months. Mulch newly planted lily bulbs to insulate soil and give the roots time to establish before soil temperatures drop. Spread mulch around lilies to provide the bulbs with protection from the freezing temperatures that occur throughout the winter. Extreme cold can damage or kill lily bulbs. A layer of organic mulching material insulates the soil from freezing temperatures that cause the ground to heave, exposing the bulbs to the elements. Mulch lilies to provide steady soil temperatures and prevent shoots from developing prematurely. The first spring shoots are highly sensitive to frost, and damage to them may result in plant health problems that persist throughout the entire growing season.
Mulch lily bulbs to maintain even soil moisture levels. Lilies develop root rot when allowed to sit in excessive amounts of water. A layer of mulch prevents excessive amounts of water from entering the soil. Add a layer of mulch around lilies to prevent the plants and their bulbs from drying out. The mulch will assist the soil in retaining moisture during hot, dry weather. Mulch also encourages worm activity, thereby adding nutrients to the soil by way of worm castings.
The mulch prevents unwanted seeds from germinating by cutting off their light supply. Spread organic mulching material around lilies to improve the overall health of their environment. As the mulch decomposes, it will add organic material to the top layer of soil; this improves soil structure and health. Periodically check the mulch for signs of slugs, especially during the spring when shoots are tender. The slugs will hide amongst the mulch and eat the emerging, tender lily shoots.