How to Propagate Lily Bulbs by Scaling


Lilies are a desirable, favorite flowering bulb for home gardens. Producing a profusion of flowers in many colors from June until September, lilies are always a winner in the landscape and are easy to take care of and propagate. Bulb scaling is one of the methods you can use to create more lily plants---others include dividing bulbs after they create a secondary bulb and separating the bulb's bulblets and bulbils from the stem.

Propagating Lily Bulbs by Scaling

Step 1

Dig up your lily bulbs in the fall after their blooming season is finished. Discard small, unhealthy bulbs and keep the larger ones.

Step 2

Wash off all the soil that remains on the bulbs and then allow them to dry in a warm, dark, dry, well-ventilated area such as your garage for one to two weeks.

Step 3

Peel off the scales from the bulb in the same way you would tear off artichoke leaves. Make sure you break the scales off cleanly; discard any that might become damaged. You can use a knife to ensure clean cuts.

Step 4

Plant the scales eight to 12 inches apart in the garden area where you want lilies to bloom next summer. Choose an area with good drainage that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight. Your lilies will grow best if you first dig some compost or well-rotted manure into the planting area.

Things You'll Need

  • Lily bulbs
  • Sharp knife
  • Shovel
  • Mulch


  • University of Minnesota Extension
  • B & D lilies
  • Herbs 2000

Who Can Help

  • White Flower Farm
Keywords: lily bulb, propagation scales, lilies scaling

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.