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How to grow and care for calla lilies

There are two main types of lilies to grow: oriental lily and Asiatic lily. Oriental lilies usually have large, fragrant pink flowers. They thrive in acidic soils and should therefore be grown in containers with ericaceous compost. Asiatic lilies have a greater variety of colors including yellow, orange, red and near-black, but they are not fragrant and tend to be smaller than Oriental types. But they thrive in alkaline soil and are extremely hardy, so they’re easier to grow – just plant the bulbs in the garden or in pots of peat-free multi-purpose compost.

How to grow lilies

Grow Oriental lilies in acidic soil or ericaceous compost, and other types, including Asiatic and Turk’s cap lilies in neutral to alkaline soil or multi-purpose compost. All types need a sheltered sunny spot to thrive, and a deep pot if growing in containers. Plant lily bulbs from October to April. Play higher varieties and protect all types from lily beetles. Allow the foliage to die down naturally after flowering.

How to grow lilies from bulbils

Several lily varieties form small bulbs on their stems from late summer to autumn, from which new plants can be propagated. If they fall off the plant, they rarely grow into large plants, so it’s best to remove the bulbs by hand and plant them in pots. Grow the bulbs for next summer and then plant them where you want them to bloom. Have patience; it can take up to three years before they start producing flowers.


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