Garden Guide: Planting Up Lilies In Pots
Lilies surely are the most glamorous of flowers, combining their wondrous colors and patterns with a grace and elegance unmatched by any other plant in our gardens. The majority have scent, powerful enough to make you weak at the knees. To find a bulb that is so easy to cultivate, reliably produces spectacular results, year after year, and brings a touch of exoticism wherever it is grown, has to be horticultural happiness. Many of us plant lovers have limited space in our gardens. You may live in an apartment, with no yard, or you may have already filled your flower beds to the brim. Yet, you find yourself drawn to the exotic look of lilies and, as a result, wonder “can you grow lily plants in pots?” The answer is yes. As long as you have enough space on your porch, patio or balcony for a medium to large pot, you can grow potted lily plants. Read on to learn more.
Lilies are unparalleled for growing in containers. There are a couple of methods you could try: the simplest is to plant them directly into the containers in which they will flower. Or bring them on in large plastic pots so the plants can be dropped into decorative containers just before the flower buds burst into bloom. In fact, we use this latter method to grow lilies for plunging into garden borders behind or among tall perennials to enhance the display.
Planting up lilies in pots
Lilies hate sitting in wet compost, so terracotta pots are ideal as they allow excess water to drain away – and the bigger, the better for root development. Use good potting compost. Give them a high-potash feed – such as liquid tomato fertilizer – once they come into growth.
1. Soak new clay pots first, so they don’t suck out moisture. Half-fill pots with moist, John Innes No. 3 compost, which holds nutrients better than peat-based and peat-free types.
2. Check bulbs carefully, discarding any scales that show signs of disease and pull off old, shrivelled roots. Gently push the bulbs into the compost, spreading out new roots.
3. Top up your pots to just below the rim with more of the compost. Water once, and allow the excess to drain away.
4. Finish off the surface with grit to stop weeds, moss and liverwort growing on the compost. It will also help retain moisture, protect the stems from rotting, and prevent wet compost splashing up when you’re watering or feeding.
Care of Lilies in Pots
- Follow these easy how to tips to take care of a potted lily.
- If you choose your own lily check the stem. It should be filled with dark green leaves. Avoid lilies that have brown or yellowing leaves.
- A potted lily needs indirect sunlight so keep it in a bright location but avoid direct sun.
- Place your plant in a cool location away from direct heat sources. The best environment should be a cool 60 to 62 degrees.
- Water your plant every couple days. Check the soil for dryness or to determine how much water it will need. The type of pot and the size of the plant will make a difference as to how much water it will need.
- Pinch the pollen sacs off your lilies, so they don't make a mess. Faded flowers should also be removed.
- After your potted lily has bloomed and if the weather is right, you can move it to an outdoor location. Choose a sunny location and dig the hold a bit larger than the pot. You might want to check with a nursery in your area for tips on taking your lily outdoors.
- Give it water and fertilizer regularly. A balanced liquid fertilizer is best for lilies. A dose of tomato fertilizer once a month also helps the blooms and bulbs. August should be the last month you use fertilizer.