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How Do I Care for a Tiny Ghost Lily?

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated July 21, 2017

Tiny ghost lilies (Lilium asiatic “Tiny Ghost”) grow to reach about 12 to 18 inches high and do not require staking as do some lily varieties. They produce burgundy, trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom during the summer and make excellent cut flowers for floral arrangements. Because tiny ghost lilies are cultivars in the Asiatic lily family, they are quite cold hardy and fairly easy to care for compared with other types of lilies.

Plant tiny ghost lilies in soil that drains water well. Till the soil approximately 8 to 12 inches deep and mix in 3 to 4 inches of organic matter, such as leaf mold, compost or peat, before planting. This improves the drainage and adds essential nutrients to the soil. Never plant them in soil that frequently has standing water.

Fertilize tiny ghost lilies in the spring with a slow-release fertilizer that is high in phosphorus, such as one labeled 5-10-10. Use the recommended rates listed on the label.

Water tiny ghost lilies in the morning so the leaves have sufficient time to dry out before nightfall. This practice helps prevent fungal and foliar diseases. Water them two to three times a week for the first month after planting while they are becoming established. After that ghost lilies typically will need water only during droughts during the growing season.

Clip off spent tiny ghost lily flowers when they fade to encourage more blooms. Clip off only the flower just beneath the bloom, using hand clippers.

Cut down the plants in the fall when the plant dies back. Do not cut them down when the leaves are still green because tiny ghost lilies are busy photosynthesizing sunlight into energy, which they will use next year.

Cover tiny ghost lilies with 4 to 6 inches of mulch the first winter just as the ground begins to freeze, especially in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4 and 5. For subsequent winters, cover them only in areas where snowfall is not dependable. Remove the mulch in the spring after the last hard frost.


About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.