Asiatic lilies are one of the most popular members of the lily family. They are relatively easy to grow and reward you for your efforts with large, frilled flowers that are often fragrant. They grow 2 to 3 feet tall and have very little foliage, but the leaves are green and spear-shaped. Asiatic lilies are grown from a bulb and are hardy from zone 4 to 9. Asiatic lilies can be planted in your garden or in a container.
Easter lily is probably the best known Asiatic lily, but other cultivars include Enchantment, which boasts orange flowers blooming in June, Dawn Star, a cream-colored flower blooming in July and Corsica, a pink flower blooming in June and July.
Sunlight and Water
Though Asiatic lilies prefer full sun, or at least six hours of sun every day, in warmer climates they will need protection from the intense afternoon sun. Water your lily in the morning to prevent the spread of disease. Your Asiatic lily needs water when the top 2 inches of soil is dry.
Asiatic lilies should be planted 8 to 12 inches apart in well-drained soil. If left in standing water, the bulbs will rot. Before planting your lilies, amend the soil with organic matter such as peat moss or compost. Asiatic lilies can be planted in the spring or the fall. Lilies look best when planted in groups of at least three to five. Plant the lily bulb twice as deep as it is wide, cover and water well.
Depending on the cultivar, Asiatic lily flowers bloom from June into September and can range in color from yellow and orange to cream, pink, white and red. Asiatic lilies make beautiful cut flowers and will draw butterflies to your garden. Asiatic lilies are beautiful paired with Coreopsis, Dianthus, Peonies or Black-Eyed Susan.
Spread a thick layer of mulch over your lilies in late fall to protect them from winter's cold. In the spring, after all danger of frost is past, you can remove most of the mulch. Feed your lily plants with a phosphorus-rich fertilizer such as 5-10-10. In the summer, remove the spent blooms from your lily to prevent your lily from producing seeds. In the fall, let the foliage of your lily die naturally. The foliage continues to feed the bulb, providing energy for next year's flowers, even after blooming has stopped for the year.
Every two to three years, your Asiatic lily will need to be divided. Divide in the fall when the plant is dormant. Carefully dig up the bulbs using a garden fork instead of a spade or shovel to help protect your lily. Brush away the excess dirt. You will see the small 'daughter' bulbs growing alongside the main bulb. Gently separate the bulbs and then replant each bulb twice as deep as it is wide and 8 to 12 inches apart.