How to Plant Lily Flower Bulbs


Lilies are hardy bulbs that are best planted during the fall before the ground freezes. This will enable the fleshy roots to grow, which will absorb the necessary water and nutrients for the lilies to grow and bloom the first summer. There are many varieties of lilies and they are all typically planted in the same manner.

Step 1

Choose a location in full sun or partial shade. Oriental and Asiatic lilies need full sun while other varieties can tolerate some shade.

Step 2

Amend the soil of your planting bed. Loosen the top 12 inches of the soil. Use a garden fork or hoe. Mix in several inches of organic matter, such as peat moss or compost. This will make the soil rich in nutrients and better suited for water drainage.

Step 3

Plant the lilies 4 to 8 inches deep with the pointy tips facing up. Smaller bulbs should be planted closer to the surface and larger bulbs a bit deeper. A good rule of thumb is to plant bulbs three times as deep as they are in height.

Step 4

Backfill the soil and pack it down well. Water the new planting bed and then pack down the soil again. It is important to get rid of any possible air pockets because they can cause root rot.

Step 5

Mulch the planting bed, if desired. This is not necessary, but will help retain water and maintain soil temperatures. Use a mulch such as bark, wood chips or pine needles.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork
  • Organic matter
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • University of Minnesota Extension
  • Planting bulbs
Keywords: plant lily flowers, plant lily bulbs, grow lilies

About this Author

Melissa Lewis graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has written over 20 episodes for the radio drama entitled "A Work in Progress." She also writes for several online outlets, including Gardenguides, Travels and Examiner, and is currently finalizing a movie script to be filmed in 2010.