Lilies are flowering plants grown from the most varied bulb plants in existence. More than 100 different types of lilies are native to the United States alone; most all of these are suitable for the home garden. Regardless of the type of lily plant you choose, culture and care requirements are the same. Some varieties may need a little extra maintenance, but in general lilies are easy to grow in most environments across the country.
Plant lily bulbs in fall between mid-September and mid-October. Select a planting location with full sun to partial shade and ensure the soil is very well-drained. Plant small bulbs 2 to 3 inches deep and larger bulbs 4 to 6 inches deep. Space lily plants 8 to 12 inches apart to promote good air circulation.
Apply a 4- to 6-inch layer of mulch over newly planted bulbs before winter arrives. This will insulate lily plants against freezing temperatures and allow the roots to continue growing. Use leaves, straw or wood chips for the best results. Remove the mulch in spring after all threat of frost has passed.
Feed each lily plant in spring as new growth emerges. Apply a high-phosphorus 5-10-10 NPK fertilizer according to the manufacturer's directions, but make sure it doesn't come in contact with the young, developing foliage. Water thoroughly before and after application.
Water lily plants once per week in spring through fall, or enough to keep the soil evenly moist. Provide water only on weeks which do not receive at least 1 inch of rainfall. Never allow a lily plant to stand in water. Cease watering in winter when foliage dies back.
Deadhead each lily plant after it blooms to preserve attractiveness during the flowering season. Simply pinch off any spent flower heads as close to the stem as possible using your fingers. Allow foliage to die back in the winter, and new growth will appear the following spring.
Support taller varieties of lily plants if they begin to droop or fall over. Place a stake in the ground behind the lily plant. Then loosely attach the stem to the stake with garden twine. Be careful not to tie down foliage or flower buds, and don't tie too tight as this can prevent further growth.