There are many kinds of lilies with some differences in requirements for growth. By selecting an assortment varieties the home gardener can have a succession lily blooms from June through September.
SOIL AND SITE: Good drainage is essential for all lilies. If the soil is not naturally well drained, gravel should be placed in the bottom of the bed. The soil must also be granular and well supplied with plant food nutrients. Some types of lilies require a damp location. The European Lilies thrive best in alkaline soil. The American Lilies and those from Himalaya and Japan seem to prefer acid soil. Most lilies seem to succeed in full sun, although partial shade, especially at midday, preserves the colors and prolongs the flowering season. Lilies also want lots of air around them. They shouldn’t be crowded.
PLANTING: The soil should be dug down to 1 foot and Fertilizer mixed and worked thoroughly into the soil. Sand, leaf mold, peat moss, or other material may be needed to adjust the soil, and should., be mixed in at this time. In most, sections of the country the Ameri-can-grown bulbs should go in the soil about mid-October. The Madonna Lily is usually planted in August or early September. Imported bulbs which arrive too late in the fall can be planted in heavily mulched soil or potted up and kept in the cold frame. The size of bulb, type of soil, and manner of root growth are all factors in planting. A general rule is to set bulbs three times their own depth. Bulbs planted in sandy soils should be 2 inches deeper than in clay soils. Space small lilies 6 to 7 inches apart and larger ones 1 foot apart.
SUMMER CARE: Keep soil free of weeds by shallow cultivation. Take care not to break the tender growth. A summer mulch of leaf mold or peat moss will keep weeds out, conserve moisture, and keep the root cooler. If dry weather comes in July or August, soak the planting down to 6 inches once a week. Feed Fertilizer Complete Plant Food at least once during the summer, using 1 pound for each 25 square feet of bed. Stake when necessary, being careful not to drive the stake through foliage. After blooming, the plants need the leaves to manufacture food reserves for storage in the bulb.
GROWING FROM SEED: Lily seeds may be sown as soon as they are ripe. Sow seeds in cold frame and allow them to grow until bulbs are formed. Keep seedlings shaded the first year.
DISEASES: Lily mosaic is a prevalent and virulent disease. When it appears on a plant there is only one thing to do dig up the plant and burn, thus keeping it away from healthy plants. This disease is carried by a virus and a fungicide will not give protection. There are several fungus diseases, such as botrytis blight that is commonly found on lilies, which can, be controlled by regular preventive dusting.