How To Grow Lilies? – Lilies are both beautiful and easy to grow. As long as you provide them with good soil and enough sun, they will reward you for years, producing larger clumps and more flowers every season. It is not too late to plant some of the summer-flowering lilies and you will be happy you did when they start blooming in August.
There are three quite distinct classes of flowering lilies. They are divided according to color range, period of bloom, hardiness, and orientation of the flowers. The different classes can be combined in the same bed, but it is a good idea to know what you have in order to do this effectively.
Lilies planted in well-drained fertile soil, and getting sufficient sun should thrive and increase each year. If you have planted them correctly and they do not do well, you may be infested with the dreaded “bulb monsters” or common voles. These voracious little pests can decimate a bed of lilies in short order, eating the tasty bulb and leaving the stalk to wither and mysteriously die. Tulips are another favorite food of these gluttonous rodents, so if you have difficulty growing tulips you must consider the possibility that voles are living, rent-free, on your property. You should take precautions before making an investment in bulbs.
There are several ways to discourage vole damage or eliminate them from your garden. Getting rid of moles will help. Voles use mole tunnels to navigate underground and save themselves some digging. Moles will only stick around if there is a source of food they like, usually beetle grubs. If you see a lot of pale, pasty grubs when you dig in your garden and see mole runs in the lawn you can take steps to kill the grubs. Applications of Milky Spore disease is a good way to rid lawns of beetle grubs. As grubs eat grass roots, they turn into Japanese beetles, ridding your soil of them. This will encourage the moles to seek happier hunting grounds, taking the free-loading voles with them.
However, there will still be a few die-hard voles sticking around, especially if you tempt them with tasty and succulent bulbs. You can protect your lilies (and other tasty bulbs) in two ways. Neither method is perfect, but, if you have voles and want lilies you will have to use one or the other.
METHOD 1: When planting, make short trenches and enclose your bulbs in tubes of wire mesh. The holes need to be large enough to allow the shoots to grow through but small enough to keep the voles out.
METHOD 2: Go to a rock quarry and purchase a sack or two of flaked rock. Flaked rock has sharp edges and makes a more solid barrier than gravel. Surround each bulb with a few inches of this material. The lazy voles will not dig through the flaked rock and the bulb shoots will grow right up through it.
Naturally, both of these methods will interfere with the multiplication of your bulbs, but at least you will have some left to multiply! If you are plagued with voles, you will have to resign yourself to more frequent maintenance and dig, divide, and re-plant your bulbs every few years. Your only other alternative is to hope for the best, that the voles will miss a few bulbs, allowing them to grow and flower.
Lilies are wonderful and dramatic additions to the garden. While a bit expensive initially, if planted in good, well-drained soil in mostly sunny locations, they will increase every year and more that repay your investment with larger and more beautiful shows. It is well worth the effort to seek out reputable dealers and buy the best and biggest bulbs you can find. As with other flowering bulbs, the size of the flower is determined by the quality and size of the bulb. Puny, dried out specimens may not even grow let alone flower the first year in the ground. Good bulbs, properly planted, will reward you with years of trouble-free beauty in your garden.