Life Cycle of a Lily Bulb


When it comes to landscaping yards and properties, many homeowners and gardeners include lilies. These hardy plants grow from long-lasting bulbs.


All lilies start life as lily bulbs, which contain the root and growing matter for the plants. These bulbs are hardy and straightforward in their needs. They are best planted in fall, and usually sprout within two weeks.

The Facts

Lily bulbs can be stored for several months without damaging their growing ability. The bulbs are best when planted in quick-draining, nutritious soil, at a spacing of 4 to 6 inches. Bulbs are often planted in groups to encourage a lily jungle effect.


Lily bulbs are usually brown in color, and should be dry, solid and papery in texture. Like most bulbs, lily bulbs present with one rounded end and one pointed end.


Lilies and their bulbs are intolerant of too much moisture. Lily plants that don't receive adequate drainage die, and lily bulbs that are stored in moist conditions or planted in soil that has standing water rot.

Dividing Lily Bulbs

Every two to three years, lily plants are divided and transplanted. Half the bulbs associated with a lily plant are dug up and moved to a different location, to give each half of the plant more room to grow and spread. Lily bulbs never "disappear." They are always present at the base of lily plants.

Fun Fact

In some Asian countries, lily bulbs are cooked like onions and added to stir fries, salads and soups.


  • The Lily Garden: Growing Lilies
Keywords: lily bulbs, lily sprouting, growing lily bulbs

About this Author

Carrie Terry has been writing since 1999 and has published work for the "Daily Bruin," eHow, eHow Home & Garden and LIVESTRONG.COM. She now runs an independent publishing house. Terry received a Bachelor of Arts in English and film from the University of California Los Angeles.

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