How to Store Oriental Lilies


Oriental lilies are a variety of lilies that include Stargazer, Emily and Little Girl. They are large plants with regal trumpet-shaped blooms that are grown in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 10. In colder zones, oriental need special winter storage, and as with most bulbous plants, unplanted bulbs should be planted immediately or stored until they can be planted.

Step 1

Wait until the foliage dies away in the fall, typically after the first frost. Cut back the foliage so only a couple inches remain above the stem. This will make it easier to see where the bulbs are planted, as well as easier to handle. Oriental lilies in USDA zones 7 to 10 need no other care during the winter months.

Step 2

Cover the planting site with mulch in USDA zones 5 to 6 to store oriental lily bulbs underground for the winter months. A few inches of mulch, such as pine needles or bark mulch will help keep the bulbs from getting too cold.

Step 3

Dig up the bulbs carefully in USDA zone 3 to 4 for winter storage. Use a garden fork, spade or shovel and dig a couple inches from the base of the plants. Oriental lily bulbs are typically planted about 8 inches deep, so dig about 10 inches to safely clear the bulbs.

Step 4

Bury oriental lily bulbs (dug up or unplanted bulbs) in an open container in some slightly moist peat moss. Store them in a cool (35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit) dry location.

Step 5

Examine the oriental lily bulbs every two to three weeks. Throw out any rotting bulbs and add some more moisture to the peat moss if it is dry. In zones 5 to 10, ideal planting time is in the fall, but in colder zones, you should wait until the ground has thawed enough in the spring to plant them.

Things You'll Need

  • Clippers
  • Mulch
  • Shovel, garden fork or spade
  • Open container
  • Peat moss


  • North Carolina State University Extension

Who Can Help

  • USDA Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: store oriental lilies, store stargazers, unplanted bulbs

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.