Oriental lilies are tall perennials with large exotic blooms in mid- to late-summer. The flowers are fragrant and range in color from pure white or rose pink to dark crimson. Oriental lilies are easy to grow from seed, but take up to 3 years to bloom. The flowers of the seedlings will not be the same as the parent plants, since Oriental lilies are hybrids.
Harvest seeds from healthy plants or buy seeds from a reputable source. See Resources for an online source of Oriental lily seeds.
Fill a clear plastic sandwich bag halfway with coarse potting soil. Put 5 or 6 seeds in the bag and seal it.
Place the bag in a cool room (60 to 70 degrees F) until the seeds form bulbs.
Move the bag to the refrigerator for 3 months to allow the bulbs to develop shoots.
Transplant the bulbs to small pots filled with coarse potting soil. Plant one bulb in each pot ¼ inch deep. Handle the bulbs gently since they, and the roots, are delicate.
Leave the pots inside until after the predicted date of the last frost. The first leaf should appear within 1 to 2 weeks.
Apply water soluble fertilizer for flowering plants every week following the manufacturer’s directions after the first leaf appears.
Move the pots of plants outside to a shady location after the predicted date of the last frost. The plants should grow three to five leaves during the first season.
Cover the plants with frost cloth or move them back inside when cold weather returns.
Set the plants in the ground outside the following spring in a place protected from hot afternoon sun and strong winds.