How to Care for a Lily Bulbs

Lilies start to bloom in the spring. image by Ulli Rossrucker/


Lilies are beautiful bulb plants that bloom from spring until fall. There are many different varieties of lilies, and each should be planted and treated according to the label. Generally though, all lily bulbs can be cared for in the same manner.

Step 1

Plant your lily bulbs as soon as you receive them. Planting bulbs is ideal in the spring or fall, but can be planted anytime. If the soil is frozen store them until the weather warms in a plastic bag, called a "poly bag," available at your local home and garden store. Store the bag in a dry cool place, such as a garage.

Step 2

Plant outdoors in an area that receives six to eight hours of sunlight, preferably in the spring or fall in soil that is rich and well draining. For a potted lily, transplant anytime between spring and fall. If necessary, add compost, sand or peat moss to the soil to help make it more loose and ready for the lilies.

Step 3

Dig a hole that is about two to four inches for small bulbs and four to six inches for large bulbs. Lilies should be planted 8 to 12 inches apart.

Step 4

Fertilize lilies each spring with a fertilizer that is labeled 5-10-10 and for bulbs. Fertilizers come in different potencies and release rates, so always follow manufacturer directions.

Step 5

Let the foliage turn brown before trimming. Cover the area with mulch before the cold winter.

Things You'll Need

  • Trowel
  • Poly bag
  • Mulch


  • University of Minnesota Extension
Keywords: plant lily bulbs, planting bulbs, bulbs winter

About this Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Photo by: Ulli Rossrucker/