How to Take Care of an Asiatic Lily
Asiatic lilies are truly lilies, members of the Lilium genus. The Asiatic lily is a showy, perennial flower with rich green foliage and stiff stems. A hardy flower thriving in zones 3 to 10, the Asiatic lily blooms in a wide range of colors and grows to heights of up to 36 inches.
Plant Asiatic lilies in deep holes, mixing the garden soil with 50 percent organic compost to promote a loose, well drained planting area. Build up the planting area so that it is elevated from the surrounding soil level. This will also promote good drainage. Select a location that provides at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight.
Plant the lilies in groups of three or five for best results. Space the lily groups approximately 3 to 5 feet apart, spacing the individual lilies about 8 to 12 inches apart. Watch the lilies carefully as they reproduce rapidly. Divide growing clusters every two to three years and replant.
Feed the Asiatic lily during the early spring, just before the growing season. Use a fertilizer that contains low nitrogen levels and high phosphorus levels such as a 5-10-10. Select a slow release fertilizer. Distribute the fertilizer evenly and incorporate gently into the soil. Do not allow the fertilizer to directly touch the lilies as this will burn the plants.
Water the Asiatic lilies regularly in the early day. Do not water overhead. Maintain constant soil moisture throughout spring, summer, and fall. However, avoid subjecting the Asiatic lily to standing water as this will cause root rot and other fungal diseases.
Protect the lilies from winter damage and frost. Apply mulch around the lilies in early November, just as the ground freezes. Remove the mulch in spring after the final frost.
Inspect the Asiatic lilies regularly for signs of insect infestation and fungal diseases. Spray insect infested lilies with a garden hose to remove aphids and mealy bugs. Treat the lilies with a gentle insecticide in early spring to eliminate and prevent infestations. Check for reddish brown leaf spots which are signs of fungal infection; treat the lilies with a fungicidal spray. Check with your local nursery specialist for selection assistance.
Break off faded and spent flowers gently from the stem. Remove stems and foliage only when they are completely spent. Remove dead and dying stalks before the growing season begins or just after the growing season ends, early spring or late fall.