How to Take Care of Oriental Lilies


Oriental lilies can be found in many gardens worldwide. They can be planted as bulbs directly in the ground as well as in containers and grow on stalks that can be up to 6 feet tall, according to Iowa State University Extension. Oriental lilies bloom in a wide array of colors from soft, creamy whites to dark magenta hues and even variegated varieties. Oriental lilies grow best in full sun conditions where the soil is well drained. Apart from these consideration, oriental lilies require little care and will soon fill your garden with color.

Step 1

Plant the oriental lilies where they will receive full sun for most of the day, though they perform better when sheltered from afternoon sun, according to ISU Extension. Ensure the soil in the planting area is well-drained.

Step 2

Space the lilies 6 to 12 inches apart when planting to keep the adult plants from becoming too crowded. Bulbs should be planted between 3 and 5 inches deep, according to online resource Bulb and Bloom, with the rule being the larger the bulb, the deeper it is planted.

Step 3

Water the lilies weekly or when the soil becomes dry to the touch. Water until the soil is moist one to two inches below the surface, but not soaked.

Step 4

Fertilize the lilies once in the beginning of spring after the danger of frost has passed, and once per month after, until the first of frost of the winter. Use an all-purpose fertilizer to achieve full, bright colored blooms and foliage.

Step 5

Prune back the stalks and blades of the oriental lilies after the first frost of winter using sharp pruning shears. Cut back the entire plant to the ground, leaving one or 2 inches above ground.

Step 6

Cover the pruned lilies with a layer of mulch or straw to help protect the lilies from the harsh winter climate. You will find that the straw will be easier to remove in the spring, rather then the mulch.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not over water the lilies. To much water creates water logged soil. When soil becomes water logged, the chances of disease, fungal growth and root rot are increased.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • All-purpose fertilizer
  • Sharp pruning shears
  • Mulch or straw


  • Iowa State University Extension: Growing Garden Lilies
  • Bulb and Bloom: Oriental Lily Bulbs
Keywords: Oriental Lily Care, Growing Oriental Lilies, Caring For Lilies

About this Author

Jason M. Bruner is a freelance writer who has been in the field for more than five years. His content has been previously published on sites such as eHow.