A longtime favorite and staple in the cutting garden, Oriental lilies provide glorious displays both indoors and out. Later blooming than other lilies, Orientals flaunt the most fragrant, largest and brilliantly hued blooms in July-August. Fertilize monthly in the spring and keep well-watered. Allow foliage to die back naturally.
Plant bulbs 6-8 inches below the soil surface and space them approximately 6-9 inches apart. Position them pointed side up.
Lilies prefer a rich, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Amend the soil with a thick layer of composted organic matter dug in to the top 6-8 inches of ground. If your ground has high pH, consider planting the bulbs in containers with potting soil, as alkaline soil will kill the plants.
Plant in full sun; in zones 7 and warmer give the plants some afternoon shade.
For best results, fertilize monthly with an all-purpose fertilizer while the plants are actively growing.
Lily blooms have a very long vase life. Harvest the flowers as soon as the top buds break. Add floral food to the vase water. Keep the plants dead-headed to maximize the bloom time. As the flowers open, carefully pull off the pollen-bearing anthers and discard them. The pollen is notorious for staining clothing.
End of Season Care
Allow the plants to die back naturally, and cut the stalks to the ground once it has dried or killed by frost. Oriental lilies are hardy and reliable, so they should re-grow the following year.