If you are looking at growing lilies in containers, consider that Lilies are a bulb that need to be planted fairly deep, this applies to both the Oriental Types and the Asiatic types. and there are two reasons for this.
- Firstly they like to be kept cool, so deep is always cooler than shallow.
- Secondly they send out roots on the stem above the bulb, and these roots are important for growth as well as holding the plant upright.
How to Grow Lilies in Containers
When planting Lily bulbs in a container you will therefore need a deep container.
- 15 cm (6 inches) of good potting mix below the bulb.
- Allow 5 cm (2 inches) for the bulb itself
- 15 cm (6 inches) of good potting mix above the bulb.
If you allow 2.5 cm (1 inch) between the top op the pot and the soil level you need a container that is around 38 cm (15 inches) tall as a minimum.
The depth of the container will also depend on the height of the particular lily variety you are growing.
The very tall varieties such as Conca D’or which is an Orienpet hybrid can reach nearly 1.5 metres in height. A plant this tall is actually better in the ground and it will certainly need staking in a container. We suggest for container growing you use the smaller types.
Dwarf Liliums (Lilies) such as Lilium ‘Bright Joy’, are the best type to grow in containers. These will reach around 50 cm and the Asiatic types have flowers that face upwards.
You still need a good sized container and in a 20 cm (8 inch) container you can fit around 3 bulbs, maybe 4. Any more than this and you may get good flowers however bulb development will be crowded and stunted.
So plant away, add the potting mix, 15 cm (6 inches), place the bulb in, fill around it with 15 cm (6 inches) of potting mix above the bulb and water in with a liquid seaweed fertiliser.
Q & A
- How much sun do Lilies like?
Lilies do like sun, if planted in deep shade they will reach for the sun. Good morning sun with a little afternoon shade is ideal for most varieties.
- How much water do Lilies like ?
Lilies like a moist soil, never wet and soggy. So use you finger to test for moisture before watering.
- What sort of soil do Lilies like ?
In containers as in the garden, they like a well drained soil, most varieties prefer a slightly acidic soil, some species are more fussy. And yes they do need to be grown in soil, NOT water.
- How often do I need to repot Lilies?
Ideally every year, or at maximum every second year.
- Do I need to store the bulbs over winter ?
In some soils and climates yes, in others, not really. In areas that get very wet winters you will need to either put the pots under cover, or dig the bulbs. The same applies for areas that get freezes. Store the bulbs in a dry cool position in slightly moist coir peat, sawdust, or pet moss. Wash then and dry them thoroughly before storing.