Take proper care of your stargazer lilies to ensure continued beauty in your flowerbed.
image by cinda: morguefile.com
Stargazer lilies are one of the oriental lily varieties that many people find easy to grow and care for in a home garden. Stargazer lilies prefer a sunny location, although morning sunshine and afternoon shade are preferential in very warm climates. Amend your soil prior to planting so that it is rich and well-draining. With basic care, stargazer lilies will provide beautiful blooms and a delightful scent during the last half of the summer.
Prepare the growing area in either the autumn or the spring by working the soil down at least 8 inches. As you till the soil, remove any rocks that you find and discard them. Add 1 to 2 inches of compost to the soil and work this in well with the spade. Add the fertilizer also, consulting the package for recommended amounts for the size of your growing area.
Dig holes for the bulbs that are approximately three times deeper than the width of the bulb (usually between 6 and 8 inches). Space the holes with 18 inches between large bulbs and 12 inches between small bulbs. Place 1 tsp. of bonemeal in the bottom of each hole prior to placing the bulbs in the holes.
Place the lily bulbs into the holes with the roots facing down in the holes. Fill soil back in above the bulbs and tamp it down firmly. Water the bulbs generously after planting.
Lay between 4 and 6 inches of mulch over the planting area if you are planting in the autumn. Brush the mulch aside gently in the spring when growth appears through the mulch. Leave the mulch near the plants so that you can cover them again in the event of a spring frost.
Provide water for the lilies during the morning hours, always pouring the water directly onto the roots and not on the foliage. (This may cause a fungal infection).
Fertilize the stargazer lilies after the final spring frost following the package recommendations for measurements.
Prune the spent blossoms by trimming them off from the stems directly under the blossoms. Do not perform any other pruning to the stargazers until after the first frost of the autumn.
Cut the stems back to soil level after the first frost, and cover the bulbs with 3 to 4 inches of mulch to protect against winter weather.
Dig up the bulbs every three years in the autumn to divide them. Cut them apart using a sharp utility knife, and plant them again following the original planting guidelines.