Planting Asiatic Lilies: Information About The Asiatic Lily

Planting Asiatic Lilies: Information About The Asiatic Lily

By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

Everyone loves lilies. Planting Asiatic lilies (Lilium asiatica) in the landscape provides the earliest lily bloom. Asiatic lily care is simple once you’ve learned how to grow Asiatic lilies. The secret to beautiful, long-lasting blooms is learning the right way to plant Asiatic lilies. You’ll be rewarded with colorful and bountiful blooms on this prized perennial.

How to Grow Asiatic Lilies

Scout for a location and prepare the soil ahead of time when planting Asiatic lilies. Information about the Asiatic lily advises planting in a sunny to partly sunny location. At least six hours of sunlight is necessary for the Asiatic lily plant.

Soil should be well-draining, which may require the addition of organic material worked in several inches (7.5 to 12.5 cm.) deep. If you already have rich, organic soil in the area where you’ll be planting Asiatic lilies, make sure it is loose and well-draining to 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20.5 cm.) deep. Bulbs of this lily should never sit in soggy soil.

Work up sandy or clay soil by adding organic, well-composted materials. Peat moss, sand, or straw mixed into the beds before planting Asiatic lilies improves drainage. Soil should drain well but hold moisture to nourish the growing lilies. Information about the Asiatic lily says they prefer soil to be slightly acidic as well.

Planting Asiatic Lilies

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.

Asiatic Lily Plant Care

Fertilize your plantings for optimum bloom. If you have followed the steps above, 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.

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How To Grow And Care For Asiatic Lily

The Asiatic lily (Lilium asiatica) makes a perfect plant for landscape design. One of the hardiest and most popular type of lilies grown, this true lily when planted correctly, produce long-lasting flowers.

Beginners new to planting bulbs find Asiatic lilies among the easiest of all lilies to play with.

They are the first lilies of the season to flower (early summer), and they multiply fast.

With simple care, these hardy, temperate northern hemisphere natives, grow and do well in USDA hardiness zones 10 all the way to 3.

Top Reasons to Grow Lilies in Your Garden

Easy, easy, easy. Lily care is simple. Lilies are some of the easiest sun perennials to grow, as long as they have good drainage and lots of sun.
Showy, summer colour. Lily flowers are large, with some growing up to 8 inches across, so they’re sure to get noticed in the summer garden. The come in a wide range of colours, including white, orange, pink, yellow, red and more.
Outstanding cut flower. The lily flower is treasured for wedding bouquets, centerpieces and cut-flower arrangements. One lily flower is enough for an arrangement.
Incredible fragrance. Oriental lilies are known for their outstanding fragrance that floats on the summer breeze. As cut flowers, they can perfume a room.
Versatility. Lilies come in many colours and sizes, so they’re easy to fit into garden settings and even containers.
Bloom time. When do lilies bloom? This depends on the variety of lily you are growing. With a little planning, you can plant different varieties and have up to 8 weeks of summertime blooms.

Lilies are a favourite flower for wedding bouquets.


While Asiatic lilies are frost-hardy, the heaving of the ground as it freezes and thaws can damage the bulbs. Mulch over the lily bed in fall when the ground begins to freeze with a 4-inch layer of wood chips, compost or straw. This helps maintain the soil temperature and prevents heave.

  • When choosing the full-sun site for the bed, keep in mind the quality of the soil in the area.
  • To test the drainage of a garden area, completely soak the area with a hose until there is standing water.

Remove the mulch gradually in the spring once the lily foliage begins growing in. A 2-inch layer of bark mulch applied after the winter mulch is removed preserves oil moisture while preventing weeds.

Asiatic Lily Care - How To Grow Asiatic Lilies - garden

Plant bulbs immediately on arrival - do not allow bulbs to dry out before planting. They like an area that has semi-shade or full sun, and well-drained, slightly acidic soil with good humus content. Work bulb food into the planting area and cover the bulbs with 10cm (4inches) of good, friable soil. Make sure any growth points are well buried - at least a hand depth. It is a really good idea to place a stake alongside your bulb at planting time if you are planting tall varieties. This ensures that you won't damage the bulb or the roots later on in the season. DO NOT USE sheep, cattle or fowl manure, or lime. Lilies are best left in the same position for several years.

On Going Care

As your lily grows, secure to the stake as necessary. Every three months side-dress with bulb food to assist the development of flower buds. Do not use manure on liliums. Should a fungal or insect (i.e Aphids) infestation occur, general garden sprays such as Yates Shield can be applied.

After Flowering

After flowering has finished leave the flower stem on the plant until it turns brown and the cut it off at ground level. Leaving the flower to wither on the plant allows energy to be drawn back into the bulb, preparing it for the next year's growth and flowering.

Cut Flowers

When cutting flowers to take indoors, remember that the bulb stores the current years nutrients for the next year. For this reason leave one third of the plant when removing flowers. Pick flowers as the buds are just beginning to open. When the flowers are fully open, remove the orange pollen-coated stamens as the pollen can badly stain furniture, clothes, etc. Oriental lilies are beautifully perfumed. However, if you prefer, the Asiatic lilies have no perfume.


Pot grown lilies should be repoted every two years or so. Refresh the mix, divide or upsize the pot if necessary. It is best to leave liliums grown in the ground for 4-5 years. This allows the bulb to grow large, producing more flowers. Always replant immediately. Do not store and do not allow to dry out.

Lilies in Pots

Lilies look fantastic in pots. Choose a large pot with good drainage holes. Use a good quality potting mix. Do not use garden soil in pots. Liquid feed or add Osmocote after 4 weeks. Plant 1 bulb in a15 cm pot, 3 bulbs in 30cm pot. Fertilise each year and re-pot after three years. The new dwarf patio lilies are ideal for planting in pots. Potted specimens need to be fed with a slow release fertiliser and watered regularly.

Imported Lily Bulbs

Some lily bulbs have been imported from Europe and so will start to grow as soon as they are planted. They will also flower earlier than normal this first year. In very cold areas you may need to protect them from frost. This will only be necessary this year. Once established they will revert to growing later in the season and flower at normal times.

How To Grow and Care for Asiatic Lilies

Asiatic Lily makes a perfect plant for landscape design. One of the hardiest and most popular lilies grown, this true lily produces long-lasting flowers when planted correctly. Beginners new to planting bulbs find Asiatic Lilies among the easiest of all lilies to play with. They are the first lilies of the season to flower, and they multiply fast. With simple care, these temperate northern hemisphere natives grow and do well in USDA hardiness zones 10 all the way to 3.

Oriental Lily shares a number of features with the Asiatic Lily. However, they also possess distinct differences, and no one should see them as the same. A few of their dissimilarities include fragrance, sizes, and bloom color.

The bulbs of Asiatic Lilies appear large, 5 to 6 inches (12.5 to 15 cm) across, generally white along with a tint of pink. The bulb color plays no part in flower color. Lily bulbs, when harvested, often look pinkish after exposure to sunlight. The large bulbs store a lot of food, giving them plenty of flower power in the spring, even with sub-par soil, water, and fertilizer.


Plant Asiatic Lily bulbs in early spring or fall before frost in well-drained, fertile soil. This allows the plants to develop a good root system. Adding organic matter will help improve the soil. When planting bulbs, place them 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) apart and 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) deep in full or partial sun. A location receiving morning or late afternoon sun with 6 hours of sunlight minimum is preferable. Asian Lilies like slightly acidic (6.5 pH.) soil.

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When you receive Asiatic bulbs, plant them as soon as possible to keep them from drying out. For a nicer look, place three or more lily bulbs that will eventually multiply into groupings. Plant them among other flowers to provide the bulbs with shade. A bulb planter comes in handy to make a hole at just the right depth.

General Care

The best Asiatic Lily care will have bulbs planted with good drainage but not dry soil. They need 1 or 2 inches (2.5 or 5 cm) of water per week. During hot and dry weather, Asiatic Lilies may need supplemental watering to ensure the root zone stays well moistened. The soil should remain moist and not soggy. As a guide, watering when the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) of soil below the surface becomes dry will provide the plant with the needed moisture for them to thrive.

A light ring of 5-10-10 fertilizer around the lilies, mixed into the topsoil, provides the nutrients required for Asiatic Lilies to thrive. This type of fertilizer supplies phosphorus and other nutrients needed for large and healthy blooms. Apply the fertilizer once Asiatic Lilies begin to grow each spring following the fertilizer bag's application rate directions. Generally, these lilies do not require frequent fertilizing.

Deadheading the blooms as soon as the petals drop improves the appearance and prevents the plant from using up its energy on seed development.

DO NOT prune the foliage, however, until it dies off naturally during fall. The leaves work, gathering energy from the sun to store in the bulbs for next season's bloom.

Once the foliage dies back naturally, cut the dead foliage to the ground. Add a layer of 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) of mulch to provide the bulbs with protection during winter. This helps maintain soil temperature and prevent heaving. Remove the mulch during spring after all danger of the frost passes. This will give room for new growth to appear. A 2-inch (5 cm) layer of bark mulch applied after removing the winter mulch helps preserve soil moisture and prevent weeds.


Propagate Asiatic Lilies from stem bulblets, bulb scales, stem bulbils, and bulb division. The fastest way comes from splitting plump bulbs. Pull them apart and plant them separately.

Pests and Diseases

Asiatic Lilies find themselves susceptible to fungal infection and aphids. To get rid of aphids on Asian Lilies and make sure your plants remain aphid free, use neem spray oil insecticide, summer oil, or Malathion. Also, use fungicides such as green guard, bravo, or a tablespoon of baking soda in about 2 liters of warm water for fungal infection.


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