How to Grow Asiatic Lilies


Asiatic lilies are the early bloomers of the lily family, putting forth their big splashy blossoms in early to mid-summertime. Asiatic lilies grow cheerfully almost anywhere in the United States, requiring only modest care that pays off in huge visual dividends in your garden.

Step 1

Plant your lily bulbs in either the spring or the fall. Lilies like sun but will grow in partial sun or even light shade.

Step 2

Plant the bulbs as soon as you get them, so they won't have the chance to dry out.

Step 3

Dig up the soil in the flower bed for your lilies to at least 12 inches in depth. Discard any rocks.

Step 4

Mix in a lot of peat moss or compost to improve drainage. Lilies aren't fussy about most conditions, but they won't survive in wet, heavy soil.

Step 5

After you've combined it thoroughly, smooth the soil out evenly.

Step 6

Dig a hole for each lily bulb that's twice as deep as the bulb's diameter. (This general rule applies to planting depths for all types of lilies.)

Step 7

Separate the holes by 8 to 12 inches.

Step 8

Put a little bone meal into the bottom of each hole.

Step 9

Put the lily bulb into the hole, root-side down, and cover it up with soil.

Step 10

For a bigger visual impact, dig holes big enough to hold four or five bulbs, add bone meal to the holes, put the bulbs in and cover them up. Separate each group by one to two feet. This arrangement will give you concentrated groups of flowers.

Step 11

Water the lily bulbs well, but don't soak the ground too much. A good way to check this is to observe how long water stands on the soil after you've finished watering. If after about four hours big pools of water are still standing on the surface, you've given the lilies too much water at one time.

Step 12

Give your lilies about an inch of water over the course of each week. Check this by putting a plastic container or an empty coffee can in an inconspicuous place in the flower bed where water from the sprinklers can get into it. After you've watered, use a ruler to measure how much water is standing in the bottom of the container. Keep track of the measurements for an entire week to makes sure the lilies are getting enough water.

Step 13

After your lilies start sprouting, sprinkle a handful of complete organic fertilizer around each flower, and then water them.

Step 14

When frost kills the foliage in the fall, cut it back to just above the bulbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Asiatic lily bulbs
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Bone meal
  • Organic fertilizer
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • Planting and Care for Asiatic, Oriental and Other Lilies; Dutch Gardens
  • Selecting Lilies for Your Garden; Anne M. Hanchek and Jane E. Bolla; revised by Deborah Brown; University of Minnesota Extension, November, 2004
  • Growing Lilies; J&L Garden Center

Who Can Help

  • How Much Should I Water?; All About Lawns
Keywords: lilies, Asiatic lilies, planting lilies

About this Author

Cheyenne Cartwright has worked in publishing for more than 25 years. She has served as an editor for several large nonprofit institutions, and her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including "Professional Bull Rider Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Oklahoma Christian University and a Master of Arts in English from the University of Tulsa.