Oriental lilies are hybrid lilies that can reach up to 5 feet tall and have large, showy and fragrant blooms. They are cold hardy lilies that will not grow in Florida’s warm climate. Fortunately, if you meet their chilling requirement, you can still grow oriental lilies. Oriental lily varieties that grow well in Florida after chilling are Lareve, Gold Stripe, Trance and Primeur.
Chill oriental lily bulbs for six weeks at 34 degrees F or eight weeks at 36 degrees F. Do not expose them to temperatures greater than 36 degrees F or they might begin to sprout. Chill the bulbs in a refrigerator in the vegetable or fruit bin.
Remove oriental lilies from storage only when you’re ready to plant them, ideally in the early spring. Otherwise they begin to grow.
Till the soil 8 inches deep and mix in 2 inches of organic matter, such as compost or sphagnum moss. In clay soil, add in 2 inches of coarse sand as well. Also, work in 1 to 2 lbs. of 6-6-6 or 8-8-8 granular fertilizer for every 100 square feet.
Plant oriental lily bulbs with the tips facing up at least 2 inches beneath the soil. In Florida, if you are planting them in late spring or early summer, plant them slightly deeper--so their tips are 3 to 5 inches beneath the top of the soil.
Space oriental lilies about 4 inches apart. Plant similar oriental lilies in groups (odd numbers look best) and space groups about 12 inches apart.
Water the bulbs with 1 inch of water and add 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch, such as grass clippings or bark mulch, to help conserve water.
Lift the bulbs the following winter for a six- to eight-week chilling period and plant again in a similar manner to regrow oriental lilies in Florida.
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