Asiatic lilies in bloom
image by DRM310/commons.wikimedia.org
Asiatic lilies are summer-blooming plants that grow from bulbs. They are desirable for their profuse and long-lasting blooms on tall, strong stems. Hardy in USDA zones 3 through10, they are grown in beds, borders, containers and cutting gardens. Lilies purchased from a garden center in nursery pots can be planted in the garden anytime of the year in climates where they are hardy. Naked bulbs are best planted in the spring or fall.
Prepare a planting bed for your lilies by tilling up a nutrient-rich soil so it is loosened and easy to work with. Asiatic lilies adapt well to most soils, save very heavy clay. If your soil is nutrient-poor, amend the planting site with several pounds of compost or well-aged manure, tilling it in well.
Place your mature Asiatic lily plant in the soil, in a hole at least twice the diameter of the root ball and at least as deep as the root ball. Slip the plant out of its nursery pot, and place the intact root ball into the prepared hole, maintaining the same soil level on the plant stem. Back-fill soil around the root ball to stabilize it, and tamp down to collapse any air pockets.
If you're planting bulbs, bury them in the prepared soil at a depth of 4 to 5 inches. Plant sloping side up and root plate down, and gently pack soil around the bulb to set it. Plant multiple bulbs at intervals of 4 to 6 inches.
Water in the transplanted lily plants or bulbs well, and lay down a 1-inch blanket of organic mulch, like shredded bark or cocoa hulls, to preserve soil moisture and keep weeds down.