It's nearly impossible to ignore the showy yet elegant bloom of a lily. So it's no wonder you might want to raise these beauties in pots to place either in your home or around a gardenscape. Both Asiatic and Oriental varieties are members of the genus Lilium (USDA plant hardiness zones 3a through 8a), but some hybrid versions may be better suited for container gardening. Here's the best way to keep your lilies thriving in a potted environment.
Lilies Best Suited for Pots
Lilies are not shy, and sometimes, their stalks grow to be more than 5 feet. As you can imagine, a taller variety of lily could prove unsteady in a pot. However, some dwarf hybrid lilies, such as Pixies, only grow to about 18 inches, and they would be a perfect lily contender to grace a container.
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Selecting a Container for Potted Lilies
The success of a potted lily starts at the chosen container. Placing lily bulbs in pots with too little depth will prevent the flower from ever developing a quality root system, and the lily's foliage and blooms will suffer later in its life. Use a 6.5-inch pot and make sure your bulbs have a minimum of 2 inches of growing medium over the top.
Soil, Sunlight, and Water Recommendations
When lilies are in season, they do best in well-drained soil. Don't overwater lilies and choose a pot with a material like terra-cotta that pulls moisture out. Out of blooming season, lily bulbs prefer to hibernate in moist soil. Asiatic hybrid varieties should be grown in soil with 6.5 pH, and Oriental hybrids prefer soil in a range from 6.5 to 6.8 pH.
For lilies with the most bloom abundance, put potted lilies in full sun for six to eight hours per day. For indoor potted lilies, consider a south-facing window since these receive the most light per day.
While lilies are still bulbs, don't allow the soil to dry out but don't saturate it either. Once stem shoots are 2 to 3 inches tall, watering can be done more frequently. And once the lilies are in active blooming season, water at will (without drowning it).
Avoid Overcrowding Potted Lilies
Even in containers, lilies will produce new bulbs every year. To prevent crowding in the pot, remove these bulbs in the fall. The bulbs can then be transplanted to a garden outside, or you can place the bulbs in a container with cool, moist soil for the winter, starting anew with another potted lily.