The stargazer lily is arguably the most popular cut flower lily. It's not surprising: they have strikingly large, star-shaped blooms with deep red to pink flames shooting from the center of bright white, gently curling petals. Small dots flirt with bright yellow green stamens to complete the picture. Growing these bulb flowers in your garden is a snap, providing late summer "wow" and inspiring neighbor envy.
Choose a planting location with well-drained soil. Lilies prefer warm heads and cool feet, so part shade over the roots is recommended. Prepare the site with organic compost, mixing it with the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches.
Plant stargazer lily bulbs in fall or spring. Each bulb should be evaluated for size, with small bulbs planted 2 to 4 inches deep and large bulbs 4 to 6 inches. The pointed end of the bulb faces up, while the more flat, rooted end faces down. Cover the top of the bulb with up to 6 inches of soil to protect roots that may grow horizontally. Plant bulb groups 5 to 6 feet from other groups, allowing 12 inches between each individual bulb.
Apply a fertilizer blend of 5-10-10 once monthly to keep stargazer lilies blooming beautifully. Many stargazers will grow to 2 or 3 feet, so staking will help keep the stalks stable under the weight of the extraordinary blooms.
Clean up the area around stargazer lily plants by removing leaf litter and spent blooms promptly. This will encourage new growth and discourage disease. Brown stems may be cut back to the ground, but foliage should not be cut or removed until season's end, as it feeds the bulb for bloom production in the next season.
Place up to 6 inches of loose, clean organic mulch over bulbs before winter to encourage winter hardiness in USDA zones 3 to 8.
Consider cages built from specialty mesh or wire if animals are eating your bulbs. Bulb cages allow shoots out but keep curious rodents at bay.