How to Take Care of a Lily


Lily plants often arrive in a plastic pot wrapped in foil as a springtime gift for Easter. This type of lily features trumpet-shaped white flowers set into a pot with soil. These flowers will hold their blooms for a few weeks before dropping petals and leaves. Dropping of leaves and petals indicates the start of the dormant stage for the lily bulbs. Learning how to take care of a lily involves understanding the plant's cycle of growth and sleep. Each lily plant has the potential to provide many years of beautiful blooms when transplanted into your garden.

Step 1

Place your lily plant away from fans, heaters, vents or appliances that produce heat inside the home. Choose a cool spot in the house out of direct sunlight. Flowers last longer when placed in indirect light at relatively cool temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Check the pot for drainage holes along the bottom. If necessary, punch holes into the container to allow water to run freely out of the pot.

Step 3

Water the plant when soil becomes dry to the touch at a depth of 1 inch. Add water sparingly since foil wrapping can hold water around the outside of the pot.

Step 4

Prolong the length of lily blooms by clipping the yellow pollen bearing stalks (anthers) in the center of the flower. Clip these pollen pods using sharp scissors and discard in the trash.

Step 5

Allow the lily to drop all flowers and continue watering sparingly. Despite the leaves turning brown, your lily plant isn't dead. Let the leaves and stem turn brown. The bulbs are still healthy enough for transplanting outside as soon as the ground warms up.

Step 6

Select a spot outside in full sun and well-drained soil. Dig a hole about 4 to 5 inches deep and pour in a few handfuls of peat moss. Do not remove flowers, leaves or stalks from the lily plant.

Step 7

Squeeze the outside of the plastic plant pot to loosen the soil. Place your hand over the top of the pot and tip the plant upside down into your palm. Shake off excess potting soil until you see the lily bulbs. If the bulbs separate during removal from the pot, dig an individual hole for each bulb spaced about 12 to 18 inches apart.

Step 8

Place the bulbs with stems pointing upward into the hole so the bulb lies about 3 inches beneath the soil surface. Fill in around the bulbs with loose soil and firm the dirt with your hands.

Step 9

Water the bulbs deeply using a small trickle of water for 5 minutes. This deep watering methods encourages water to seep deeply into the soil to reach the bulbs.

Step 10

Be patient. Your lily won't bloom until the following year. Make sure to cover the plant with a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch to control soil temperatures. Clip back dead foliage flush with the soil surface at the end of the growing season.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Watering can
  • Trowel
  • Peat moss


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Keywords: care for a lily, lily care, Easter lily care

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.