Can Lilies Be Planted Outside

Can Lilies Be Planted Outside

Are you wondering if lilies can be planted outside in your garden? The answer is a resounding yes! Lilies are not only suitable for outdoor planting but also add vibrant beauty to any garden or flower border. Whether you prefer to grow them in containers or directly in the ground, lilies are a fantastic choice for outdoor lily planting.

There are two main types of lilies that you can choose from: Oriental lilies and Asiatic lilies. Oriental lilies are known for their large, fragrant flowers and thrive in acidic soil. On the other hand, Asiatic lilies come in a wide range of colors and are easier to grow in alkaline soil.

When planting lilies outside, it’s important to choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil. If you opt for taller varieties, make sure to stake them for support. Additionally, lilies should be planted from October to April, and it’s crucial to allow the foliage to die down naturally after flowering.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lilies can be planted outside, either in containers or in flower borders, adding vibrant beauty to your garden.
  • There are two main types of lilies: Oriental lilies and Asiatic lilies. Oriental lilies have large, fragrant flowers and prefer acidic soil, while Asiatic lilies come in various colors and are more suited to alkaline soil.
  • Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil for planting lilies outside, and stake taller varieties for support.
  • Plant lilies from October to April, and allow the foliage to die down naturally after flowering.
  • Remember, lilies can be toxic to cats, so take precautions if you have feline companions.

Types of Lilies to Grow Outdoors

When it comes to adding a touch of beauty to your outdoor space, lilies are a popular choice. There are two main types of lilies that thrive in outdoor gardens: Oriental lilies and Asiatic lilies.

Oriental lilies are known for their large, fragrant flowers that come in a variety of shades of pink. These blooms are truly stunning and can create a captivating focal point in any garden. To ensure their success, Oriental lilies require acidic soil, so it’s best to plant them in containers with ericaceous compost. This will provide the ideal growing conditions for these exquisite flowers.

Asiatic lilies, on the other hand, offer a wide range of vibrant colors, including yellow, orange, and red. While they may not have the same intense fragrance as Oriental lilies, they make up for it with their striking hues. Asiatic lilies are hardy and can be grown directly in the garden or in pots with multi-purpose compost, making them a versatile choice for outdoor plantings.

Whether you choose the fragrant beauty of Oriental lilies or the vibrant colors of Asiatic lilies, both types can thrive outdoors with proper care and attention.

Type of Lily Main Characteristics Growing Conditions
Oriental Lilies – Large, fragrant flowers
– Various shades of pink
– Acidic soil
– Containers with ericaceous compost
Asiatic Lilies – Wide range of vibrant colors
– Hardy and versatile
– Neutral to alkaline soil
– Direct garden planting or pots with multi-purpose compost

Growing Conditions for Lilies

To ensure the healthy growth of lilies, it’s important to provide them with the right growing conditions. Whether you’re planting lilies in the ground or in containers, here are some care practices to keep in mind.

1. Sun and Shelter

Lilies thrive in a sunny spot, so choose a location in your garden that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. This will help the plants produce vibrant blooms. Additionally, lilies prefer a sheltered spot that is protected from strong winds, as strong gusts can damage their delicate petals.

2. Soil Type

The soil type is crucial for lily growth. Oriental lilies prefer acidic soil or ericaceous compost, while Asiatic lilies can tolerate neutral to alkaline soil or multi-purpose compost. Ensure that the soil is well-draining to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. If you’re unsure about the pH level of your soil, you can use a soil testing kit to determine its acidity or alkalinity.

3. Planting Time

Lily bulbs should be planted from October to April, depending on the variety. This period allows the bulbs to establish roots and prepare for the growing season. Plant the bulbs at a depth that is three times their height, with about 15cm of space between each bulb. Remember to place taller varieties on sturdy stakes to provide support as they grow.

4. Lily Beetle Protection

Lily beetles are a common pest that can damage lilies and impact their overall health. Keep a close eye on your lilies for any signs of lily beetles, which are bright red in color. If you spot these pests, remove them carefully by hand and dispose of them properly. Consider using organic pest control methods, such as neem oil or diatomaceous earth, to deter and control lily beetles.

5. Foliage Maintenance

After your lilies have finished flowering, it’s important to allow the foliage to die down naturally. This process allows the bulbs to store energy for the next growing season. Avoid cutting back the foliage too soon, as this can weaken the plant. Once the leaves have yellowed and withered, you can gently remove them from the stem.

By following these lily care practices and providing the optimal growing conditions, you can enjoy the beauty of lilies in your outdoor space. Remember to regularly monitor your lilies for any signs of pests or diseases, as early detection can help prevent any serious damage. Happy gardening!

lily care practices

Where to Plant Lilies

Lilies are a stunning addition to outdoor landscapes, bringing vibrant colors and elegant blooms to any garden. When selecting the perfect spot to plant lilies, it’s important to consider their specific needs to ensure optimal growth and flowering.

First and foremost, lilies thrive in full sun. They require at least six hours of direct sunlight each day to reach their full potential. Planting them in a spot that receives ample sunlight will result in larger, more robust blooms.

In terms of soil, lilies prefer rich and moist soil that drains well. This allows their roots to access essential nutrients while preventing waterlogged conditions that can lead to root rot. For Oriental lilies, which prefer acidic soil, using ericaceous compost or planting in acidic soil will provide the ideal growing conditions. On the other hand, Asiatic lilies are more adaptable and can tolerate neutral to alkaline soil or multi-purpose compost.

For a more natural look, certain lily varieties such as Martagon, Lancifolium, and Pardalinum can be grown in dappled shade. These lilies are well-suited for woodland gardens or areas with filtered sunlight. They have a graceful presence and blend beautifully with other shade-loving plants, creating a serene and harmonious landscape.

When planting lilies, it’s essential to mark their location to avoid accidentally disturbing the bulbs later on. This can be done with plant markers or by creating a garden plan to keep track of the lilies’ positions. By taking this precautionary measure, you’ll ensure that your lilies can flourish undisturbed, providing years of beauty in your outdoor space.

Comparing Soil Preferences for Oriental and Asiatic Lilies

Lily Type Preferred Soil
Oriental Lilies Acidic soil or ericaceous compost
Asiatic Lilies Neutral to alkaline soil or multi-purpose compost

When to Plant Lily Bulbs

Planting lily bulbs in the ground or in containers is an exciting outdoor activity that allows you to enjoy the beauty of these stunning flowers. To ensure successful outdoor lily planting, it’s important to know the right time to plant your bulbs.

Lily bulbs can be planted from late autumn until early April, when the soil is cool and workable. This gives the bulbs enough time to establish their root systems before the arrival of warmer weather.

When selecting lily bulbs for planting, look for large, firm bulbs that are free from any signs of damage or disease. These healthy bulbs have the best chance of producing strong, vibrant blooms.

To plant lily bulbs in the ground, dig a hole that is three times the depth of the bulb’s height. For example, if the bulb is 5cm tall, dig a hole that is 15cm deep. Space the bulbs about 15cm apart to allow for proper growth and airflow.

outdoor lily planting

If you’re planting lilies in containers, choose pots that are at least 30cm deep to accommodate the long roots of the bulbs. Ensure that there is at least 12cm of soil above the bulb in the pot. If you decide to plant the bulbs deeper, provide extra winter protection by insulating the pots or moving them to a sheltered location.

It’s worth mentioning that you can also purchase potted lilies during the summer months. These potted plants can be transplanted into your garden or larger containers, allowing you to enjoy their blooms in the same season.

Caring for Lilies Outdoors

To ensure the health and vitality of your outdoor lilies, proper care practices are essential. By following the best lily care practices, you can enjoy beautiful blooms and thriving plants. Here are some tips to help you grow lilies outdoors:

Supporting Tall-Growing Varieties

When growing tall-growing lily varieties, it’s important to provide them with proper support. Use plant supports, such as stakes or cages, to prevent the stems from bending or breaking under the weight of the flowers. This will ensure that your lilies grow tall and upright, creating an eye-catching display in your garden.

Feeding with Tomato Feed

Lilies benefit from regular feeding during the flowering period. Every fortnight, feed the plants with tomato feed, which is rich in essential nutrients. This will provide them with the nourishment they need to produce vibrant, healthy blooms. Be sure to follow the instructions on the tomato feed packaging for the correct dosage.

Deadheading Spent Blooms

To promote continuous blooming and prevent energy waste on seed production, deadhead spent blooms regularly. This involves removing the faded flowers by cutting them back to the stem, just above a healthy leaf node. Deadheading will encourage the plant to redirect its energy towards producing new blooms, resulting in a longer flowering season.

Allowing Martagon Lilies to Self-Seed

If you are growing martagon lilies, you have the option to let them self-seed. These lilies produce small bulbils along their stems, which can be left to fall to the ground and grow into new plants. By allowing martagon lilies to self-seed, you can easily expand your lily garden without much effort.

Proper Stem Pruning

When it comes to stem pruning, it’s important not to cut the flowering stems right back to the soil level. Instead, remove the top third of the stem after the flowers have finished blooming. This will help the plant conserve energy and focus on developing strong bulbs for the next growing season.

Moving Pot-Grown Lilies to a Shaded Spot

If you have lilies growing in pots, it’s recommended to move them to a shaded spot after they finish flowering. This will protect them from excessive heat and sun, which can cause the bulbs to dry out. Place the pots in a sheltered location where they can receive indirect sunlight and provide adequate water to keep the soil moist.

Lily Care Practices Description
Supporting Tall-Growing Varieties Use plant supports to prevent bending or breaking of stems.
Feeding with Tomato Feed Regularly feed lilies with tomato feed every fortnight during the flowering period.
Deadheading Spent Blooms Remove faded flowers to promote continuous blooming.
Allowing Martagon Lilies to Self-Seed Let martagon lilies self-seed to expand your garden effortlessly.
Proper Stem Pruning Remove the top third of the stem after flowering to conserve energy.
Moving Pot-Grown Lilies to a Shaded Spot Protect pot-grown lilies by moving them to a shaded location after flowering.

Following these best lily care practices will help ensure that your outdoor lilies thrive and reward you with stunning blooms year after year. By providing the necessary support, nutrients, and attention, you can enjoy the beauty and elegance that lilies bring to your garden.

best lily care practices

Propagating Lilies

Propagating lilies is a rewarding process that allows you to expand your lily collection and share the beauty of these stunning flowers with others. There are a few methods you can use to propagate lilies and grow them outdoors.

Dividing Clumps

One common method of propagating lilies is by dividing clumps every three to four years. This is best done in the autumn when the lilies go dormant. To begin, carefully lift the clumps with a garden fork, taking care not to damage the bulbs. Once the clump is lifted, separate the bulbs, ensuring each division has enough roots to support it.

Next, you can plant the newly divided bulbs in smaller clumps in a new location in your garden or in pots. Make sure to dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the bulb and backfill with soil, gently firming it around the roots. Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil.

Growing Bulbils

Another method of propagating lilies is by growing bulbils, which are small bulbs that form on the stems of lily plants. As the flower fades, you may notice tiny bulblets developing. Once these bulbils have reached a decent size (about the size of a pea), remove them from the stem.

Prepare a seed tray with multi-purpose compost, and plant the bulbils about 1 inch deep. Ensure the tray is kept well-watered and placed in a warm location. It may take up to three years for the bulbils to reach flowering size, but with patience and nurturing, you’ll be rewarded with new lily plants.

Propagating lilies can be a fun and rewarding gardening project. Whether you choose to divide clumps or grow bulbils, you’ll be able to expand your lily collection and enjoy these beautiful flowers in your outdoor space.

Dealing with Lily Pests and Diseases

When it comes to lilies, it’s important to be prepared for potential pests and diseases that can affect their health and vitality. One common pest that lily enthusiasts often encounter is the red lily beetle. These beetles are active from March to October and can cause significant damage to lily foliage if left unchecked. Vigilance is key when dealing with these beetles, as they need to be promptly removed as soon as they are spotted.

If you notice an infestation of red lily beetles, it may be necessary to employ suitable insecticides to control their population. However, it’s essential to exercise caution when using insecticides to avoid harming important pollinating insects that play a vital role in your garden ecosystem.

Aside from red lily beetles, other common pests that can affect lilies include slugs, snails, and vine weevils. These critters can cause damage to both the foliage and the bulbs, impacting the overall health of your lilies. It’s crucial to be proactive in monitoring for the presence of these pests and implementing appropriate control measures if necessary.

While pests pose a significant threat, lilies are also susceptible to certain diseases. Fungal infections such as lily disease and basal rot can have a detrimental effect on lily plants. These diseases can cause wilting, browning of leaves, and overall decline in plant vigor. It’s important to keep a close eye on your lilies and take prompt action if you suspect any signs of disease.

To summarize, here are some lily garden tips for dealing with pests and diseases:

  1. Regularly inspect your lilies for the presence of red lily beetles and promptly remove them.
  2. Consider using insecticides if the infestation of red lily beetles is severe, but exercise caution to minimize harm to beneficial insects.
  3. Monitor for slugs, snails, and vine weevils and take appropriate measures to control their population.
  4. Be vigilant for signs of fungal diseases such as lily disease and basal rot, and take immediate action if necessary.

I hope these lily garden tips help you effectively deal with pests and diseases, ensuring the health and beauty of your lilies.

Lilies and Cats

It’s important to note that lilies are toxic to cats. All parts of the lily can be fatal to cats if ingested. If you have cats and are concerned about their safety, it’s best not to grow lilies in your garden or bring them inside as cut flowers. Taking precautions to protect cats from exposure to lilies is essential.

Keeping Your Cats Safe

Cats are curious creatures and may be attracted to the beautiful blooms and foliage of lilies. To prevent any accidents or harm, consider the following measures:

  • Avoid planting lilies: Choose alternative flowers that are safe for cats, such as petunias or marigolds, for your outdoor flower beds.
  • Secure indoor arrangements: If you enjoy having fresh flowers indoors, make sure to keep lilies out of reach of your feline friends. Place them in areas where your cats cannot access them.
  • Inform others: If you have friends or family who are cat owners, educate them about the dangers of lilies to prevent accidental exposure.

By being mindful of the potential hazards and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure the safety and well-being of your furry companions.


When it comes to lilies, the answer is clear – they can definitely be planted outside and bring beauty to your garden. Whether you opt for the stunning Oriental lilies with their large, fragrant flowers or the vibrant Asiatic lilies with their array of colors, growing lilies outdoors is a rewarding experience.

To ensure successful growth, it’s crucial to provide the right growing conditions. Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil and consider the soil type preference of your chosen lily variety. Protecting your lilies from common pests like lily beetles and being mindful of their toxicity to cats is essential. With these lily garden tips, you can cultivate a flourishing and vibrant outdoor lily garden.

So, why not dive in and start growing lilies outdoors? With their elegance and charm, lilies are sure to make a striking feature in your garden. Follow the planting and care instructions, and soon enough, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking blooms that will brighten up your outdoor space. Get ready to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of lilies as they enhance the natural splendor of your garden.

Source Links