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Asiatic lilies (Lilium asiatic) produce showy blooms that range in color from pastel to brilliant shades of pink, red or orange and include every color except for blue. These flowers appear atop a tall stalk that resembles the top of a pineapple and form a cluster of blooms that open in late spring to early summer.
NO. OF BULBS: 5 BULBS
Plant these bulbs in fall, a few weeks before the winter brings freezing temperatures. This allows a good root system to develop. Bulbs of the Asiatic lily must have the winter chill to produce big blooms.
Plant the bulbs three times as deep as the height of the bulb, with the flat end down, then mulch lightly to retain moisture. In spring, plant short annuals around the lily bulbs to shade them. Place in a location away from browsing deer; Asiatic bulbs are edible and deer will do just that if given a chance.
Sunlight: Asiatic lilies prefer a sunny location but survive in partial sun. Blooming may be inhibited in shady areas.
Soil: Asiatic lilies need loose, well-drained soil, as their bulbs tend to rot if allowed to set in wet soil for prolonged periods. Adding organic matter, such as aged compost or well-rotted manure, improves drainage, promotes good air circulation and adds a source of slow-release nutrients to the soil. Although they are tolerant of a wide range of soil pH, they prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.5.
Water: Their need for well-drained soil should not be confused with dry soil. These flowers need 1 or 2 inches of rain a week. During dry, hot weather, supplemental water is necessary. Watering Asiatic lilies when the soil feels dry 1 inch below the surface typically provides the moisture they need to thrive. Mulching with organic matter also conserves water.
Harvesting: Lilies make wonderful cut flowers. Choose lilies with buds that are just about to open, not tight and green, with a bit of the flower colour showing. As soon as you get lilies inside, trim the stem ends an inch or so, making a diagonal cut with a sharp knife. If you worry that the orange pollen of lilies might cause stains, simply snip off the stamens in the flower’s centre. Before arranging in a vase, remove the lower leaves on the stems so that no foliage will be underwater. A good lily arrangement will last 2 or more weeks. Change the water every few days. To help prolong the life, add cut-flower food to the water. Lilies require only half the amount of food recommended for other flowers.
- Fertilize your plantings for optimum bloom.
- The organic matter in the soil gives your plants a good start.
- You can top dress with slow release fertilizer as well, or feed in early spring with fish emulsion, worm castings, compost tea or a nitrogen plant food.
- When buds appear on the Asiatic lily, feed with a high phosphorus food, or bone meal, to make blooms bigger and last longer.
- Fertilize in limited amounts, as too much fertilizer, even the organic types, can create lush green foliage and limit blooms.
- Proper care of your Asiatic lily bulbs goes a long way in creating a beautiful display.