5 Frequently Asked Questions About Lilies

Whether you're talking about Asian lilies or common daylilies, these flowers can make a colorful addition to any garden.

Q: What is the different between a daylily and a garden lily?

A: Garden lilies grow from bulbs, whereas daylilies grow from crowns. Daylilies have many leaves that grow out from the crown, but garden lilies generally have one shoot with leaves on it that grows from the bulb.

Q: When do I plant lilies?

A: You can plant them in either the fall or the spring, but plant them as soon as you get the bulbs. You don’t want to buy the bulbs in the fall and wait until spring to plant them.

Q: How deep should lily bulbs be planted?

A: In general, you should plan to plant the bulbs about three times as deep as the diameter of the bulb, but there are some varieties that are a little different, so check the packaging when you purchase the bulbs. You should also plant lilies in groups to get the most bang for your buck, so dig a hole to the proper depth and plant a few bulbs together.

Q: Once a lily has bloomed, should the stem be cut off or the entire plant be cut back?

A: It's best just to remove the stem itself. Lilies, especially those from bulbs, will feed off the foliage and will grow better the next season if it's left until it dies off. Daylilies are a little different, though: many of them will bloom longer. You should deadhead blooms and cut back stems as the lilies bloom during the growing season, and again let the foliage die back, but once it has died back in the fall, it can be cut off at this point.

Q: How do I propagate lilies?

A: If you have a true bulb, break off a couple of the scales in the fall or spring and plant them about 1" deep. With daylilies, you can simply divide the crowns and plant them. And finally, some varieties of lily produce bulbils, which look like dark-green or black seeds and are found at the point where the leaf meets the stem. They aren't seeds, but they can be planted and will come up in two or three years.

Q: Can I plant my Easter lily outside?

A: This is a question that I get year round, not just in the spring. And my answer is, you can try. The problem is that Easter lilies do not really bloom at Easter, so they have been forced by the florist, which makes it hard for them to make the transformation into a thriving plant in your garden. If you decide to give it a go, here are a few tips:

  • Plant in a sunny location with well-drained soil.
  • Use a planting mix to promote their establishment.
  • Plant bulbs 3" below the surface and mound up an additional 3" of soil over the bulbs.
  • Allow enough room for the roots to spread.
  • Water thoroughly.
  • And remember: they like their tops in sun but their roots in shade.
Keep Reading

Next Up

Planting Bulbs for Summer Bloom

Plant these beauties in spring to brighten a summer garden.

Flowering Bulbs for Fall Planting

Plant these bulbs in fall for a glorious show of color in your spring or summer garden.

Alliums

Here, Joe Lamp'l introduces a flowering ornamental member of the onion family -- alliums. Their large single blooms add interest around a garden fence or in a flowerbed.

Planting and Caring for Bulbs

Planting bulbs in the garden can eventually provide eye-catching results.

10 Ways to Make Sure Tulips Return

Treating tulips like annuals? Learn easy ways to help these beauties return in your garden each year.

Scented Geraniums

The leaves of these plants can add a fragrant aroma to your garden.

Zonal Geraniums

Learn more about this incredibly popular plant, which is a common choice for home gardeners throughout the United States.

Geranium Flowers

Learn more about the blooms of this classic plant and how you can get the most from them throughout the growing season.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Hardy, versatile and eye-catching, these blue-violet blooms are sure to be a showstopper in any garden.

How and When to Plant Geraniums

Learn how to grow and care for these flowering beauties in your own container garden or backyard.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.