Stargazer Oriental lily in full bloom.
image by Dogmadic:commons.wikimedia.org
Stargazer Oriental lilies are grown from bulbs for their large pink, white or yellow flowers that bloom in multiples on long slender stems over straplike leaves of deep green. Stargazers produce a deep, spicy scent when in bloom and are grown in borders, containers and beds, widely for use as cut flowers.
Plant your Stargazer bulbs and plants in the spring or fall to bypass the heat stress and drought of summer. Plant bulbs 6 to 8 inches deep in the soil, with the flattish root plate facing down and the gently swooping point facing up toward the sun. Space the bulbs at intervals of at least 6 inches.
Plant in odd-numbered groups for a more natural appearance, and mass in groups of 25 bulbs or more for a planting carpet effect that offers a high production of flowers to cut for use in the house or as gifts.
If planting an established Stargazer from a nursery pot, be sure to keep the same level of soil on the stem as it has become accustomed to while in the pot. With either starting form, water in well at planting.
Keep the soil evenly moist around the bulb and roots throughout the year, with the soil neither sopping wet nor dry enough to allow the bulb to dry out. Gauge the moisture by dipping a finger in the soil every week or so to learn the water uptake of your lilies during different times of year; then adjust your watering regimen accordingly.
Apply a good quality granular bulb fertilizer in late winter or early spring when green shoots begin to emerge. Apply the fertilizer formula according to the manufacturer's instructions, but make sure the soil is premoistened to prevent burn. Apply fertilizer a second time after the lilies bloom and have faded to replenish the bulbs for next season's growth.
Stake your Stargazer lilies to keep the stems upright and support what are often heavy blooms. Thin bamboo stakes about two-thirds the height of the lily are usually enough support while still looking unobtrusive. Anchor the stakes deeply in the soil and secure to the lily stem gently and loosely with lightweight and flexible garden ties.
Harvest your Stargazer for cut flowers by using clean secateurs to cut the stem low on the plant near the base. Prune the lily plants for size, shape and legginess in the late fall in regions where they do not die back in winter.