Lilies belong in the family Lilium and are broken into three groups: Asiatic, Oriental and Trumpet. Lilies originate from multiplying underground bulbs and are hardy when grown in proper locations. Gardeners have hundreds of varieties to choose from within the three groupings. Lilies planted outdoors give gardeners years of color and fragrant flowers as well as adding height variations to the garden. Gardeners in all regions of the United States should wait until all signs of frosts and freezes have left their area before planting their lily outside.
Select an area to plant your lily that receives at least five hours of sunlight during the day. Most varieties perform best when planted in a sunny location.
Plant your lily in soil that has good drainage, as poorly draining soil will cause the bulb to rot. Create a raised bed in poorly draining soils by piling the soil approximately 6 inches high and 8 inches wide. This will lift the bulb’s root system out of the saturation.
Amend the plating site with compost or other organic material if your soil is sandy and lacks nutrients. Work the organic material into the soil to the depth to which your lily will be planted. Loosen the soil around the planting site for better root growth.
Plant the container-grown lily into the soil at the same depth it was growing inside of the container. Plant any singular bulbs at a depth three times deeper than the size of the lily bulb. Bulbs planted deep develop a larger root system and better anchorage in the soil.
Apply a layer of mulch to the area around the lily to protect it from cool winters and retain moisture in the soil during periods of dry, hot weather.
Water lily plants two to three times per week until the lily blooms. Decrease the watering schedule to once every three to four weeks after blooming occurs. Lily plants require little water after their blooming stage.
Fertilize the lily as it begins to emerge from the soil with a time-released, bloom boosting fertilizer. Apply per package instructions. Repeat the fertilization application one month later. Bloom boosting fertilizer has a higher middle number, such as a 10-15-10.