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How to Care for Outdoor Lily Plants

lily image by Henryk Olszewski from

True lilies come from the genus lilium. Lilies come in many colors, which makes them perfect for using in an outdoor garden. Generally the flowers of a lily plant take on a shape such as a bell, a trumpet, or a bowl. Caring for an outdoor lily plant is fairly easy. There are just a few important things to remember to keep your lilies as healthy as possible.

Apply a 5–10–10 fertilizer to your lily plant at the beginning of the spring season. Look for one that has a slow-release formula.

Cover the soil around your lily plant with a little bit of compost after you have applied the fertilizer. You can easily make your own compost out of coffee grinds and egg shells, or dilute horse manure in water.

Give your lily plants an inch of water each week if they have not received it naturally from a rainstorm. The University of Minnesota recommends that you water your lily first thing in the morning and that you direct the water to the base of the plant.

Keep an eye out for pests that may try to attack your lilies. Most of these pests, such as aphids, can easily be removed by squirting them with a hose.

Place a 4-inch layer of mulch around the base of your lily plant during the fall season. This is best done before the middle of November to protect the bulb of the lily plant from becoming damaged by frost.

Cut your flower stalks down to the base of the plant once they have begun to fade.


Plant any new lily plants you want to add to your garden during the fall. September and October are the best months to do this.


Do not plant lilies where water collects. They need a well-drained soil to thrive.

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