The Business of Growing Lilies, Part 2 Growing

Growing lilies

Before, lilies were considered difficult to grow as it needs horticultural knowledge in order to make it grow healthy. Today, knowing how to take care of your plants is the key in ensuring its healthy growth. Aside from enough love and attention, lilies, like any other flower, need specific requirements. Among the requirements would include the factors of soil conditions, rainfall and sunlight. These are the primary requirements. If these needs are met, lilies will continue bringing beauty in your garden and could also be a source of income to aspiring entrepreneurs.

How to Prepare the Site

One of the important things to consider in growing lilies is the place where to plant it. First, it should have good drainage. A site that is open and allows water to flow freely is the perfect spot for lilies. If the soil is not naturally well
must be granular or sandy, and gravel should be put at the bottom of the bed in order to make it a suitable site for lilies. In line with this, you should supply the soil with plant nutrients to ensure that the lilies will grow healthy.

Humus is very important to be present in the soil because it helps trap the moisture for the roots to absorb. Soil pH is also a factor. Some of the lilies like Asiatic hybrid like acidic soil while some lilies like Orientals prefer alkaline soil.

The site should receive a good amount of sunlight since most lilies grow successfully in full sun. If it’s too shady, the stem of the lilies will stretch and will lean towards the sun. However, partial shade especially during midday is needed to preserve the color and to lengthen the span of the flowering season.

Growing Lilies From Seed

A good way of producing a large collection of lilies is through sowing seeds. To do this, a sterile soil is needed during the early stages of growth of the lily seedling. After placing it on pots and trays, sow the seeds an inch apart and cover them with about half an inch of soil. A good location where to put the said pots and trays is in a cool green house on a window-sill. This should receive partial sunlight in a day. Germination rate of the seed increases at warmer temperature. One of the essential things to remember is to constantly supply moisture and nutrients to the soil.

Lily seeds could be categorized into 2 types. This includes epigeal which cover lily seeds planted close to the ground. On the other hand, hypogeal includes lily seeds planted underground. Some of hypogeal seeds include the easiest to grow. They can germinate quickly and send up a leaf as early as 3-6 weeks after sowing (Asiatics and most trumpet types of lily fall under this category). Seeds under this category hide underground until they reached 3-4 months of warm period. This will be followed by 2-3 months of cool temperature.

The seed can be planted indoor anytime of the year. Fluorescent lighting can also be an excellent source of light.

The lights should be set up 2-3 inches above the flats. Raise the lights as the seedlings grow to maintain the same distance. If the seeds have already germinated, it is advised to give them 14-16 hours of light everyday.

After these seeds show leaves, they could be transplanted to a larger container. The gap between seedlings would require 1-2 inches. At the end of the first season, seedlings which resulted to bulbs with more than half an inch in diameter and good roots can be transferred to open garden. It usually takes 2-4 years for seed grown lilies to flower.

Growing Lilies From Bulbs

Growing lilies from bulbs is considered easier than through seeds. Bulbs should be planted in sandy soils with a gap of 25 cm. Planting bulbs vary in their sizes. Smaller species would require a depth of 6 centimeters when buried while larger ones need as deep as 30 centimeters. Because bulb sizes are not constant, the best way to know how deep a bulb should be buried is to multiply the size of the bulb diameter by three.


Lily mosaic is the most widespread disease among lilies. No fungicide could be used to prevent this disease which is caused by a virus. The only way to protect healthy lilies is to dig up and burn the plants. This will prevent the disease from spreading to other healthy plants.

Botrytis blight is a fungal disease which is also commonly found in lilies. It is caused by watering at night which results in drying them up the next day, or the site is not quick to dry out after a rainy or wet day. This disease usually brings reddish-brown spots on the leaves. This disease reduces the leaf areas which can produce sugar that is used for the growth of the bulbs. To solve this problem, copper-based spray or any fungicide for roses could be used. It is also advised to water the plant early morning or at the base of the plant. Proper spacing on plants also prevents this disease because it results in good air circulation.

Caring for Lilies

The best way of feeding the plant is to regularly add composts to the soil.

When watering the plant, avoid watering the leaves and flowers because it will lead to Botrytis disease. Aphids, small sucking bugs, could be a problem to flower buds. To solve this problem, wash the affected plant carefully yet forcefully with water hose to eradicate the said pests. Whenever there are withered flowers, break them off carefully to avoid wasting plant’s energy for useless seed production. Avoid cutting the stems as long as it is green to continue supplying energy to the plant.

Aside from lilies bringing beauty to our homes and gardens, it could also be a good source of income. Growing lilies maybe a little bit challenging, but the result is worth trying.

The only key to make lilies grow healthy and good for business is to know the well and be aware of what are the requirements suitable for the desired type of lily.

Flower suppliers can be found at Dangwa Flower Market (Dangwa Bus Terminal) Dos Castillas Street, Sampaloc, Manila.

author: Grace Figuracion, Marid Digest, photo from

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