Few flowers can boost the appeal of a garden like an Asiatic lily. With their unique colors and ability to bloom every year, they’re almost irreplaceable.
Growing it, however, is not necessarily easy. Here, we want to show you the most effective way to plant it and grow it, plus a few Asiatic lily care tips to keep it blooming for long.
If you’re looking to get your garden to the next level with Asiatic lilies, you’ll find everything you need to know below. Without much further ado – let’s check it out!
What is an Asiatic Lily Plant?
First off, you have to know that lily often covers a wide array of plants. However, few of those plants are true lilies. The ones you should look for as called “Lilium.” Everything else is a plant from an entirely different species (daylilies, for example).
But Lilium alone refers to the lily plant. It doesn’t refer to the Asiatic lily you’re looking for. Well, that happens because this one is a sub-species called “Lilium asiatica.”
This species is typically sturdier than the typical lily. More interestingly, it produces flowers that last longer than other varieties. It’s worth knowing that these plants also grow the least. With about 3 feet of tall as a maximum height, they’re not exactly the biggest.
The bloom size and color depends on the specific variety you picked. But generally, they bloom from early summer up to the fall. Some types may bloom several times a year.
These lilies come in a wide array of colors, depending on the species you pick. Regardless of what you go for, they require full-sun exposure, proper nutrition from the soil, and consistent watering.
Types of Asiatic Lily to Consider
While lilies may be the general way of talking about them, there are actually dozens of varieties to consider. Here, we want to show you the most popular ones:
Black Out (Lilium ‘Black Out’)
Boasting a carmine red color with a body that faces upward, these flowers are among the most attractive. The ‘Black Out’ name comes from the dark red shading in the center.
This one requires full sun but can also thrive in partial shade. And because each stem can provide up to 4 flowers at once, it becomes an excellent container option. The plant can grow to 3 feet tall.
Black Spider (Lilium ‘Black Spider’)
Few flowers are as attractive as the purple-creamy blossoms from the ‘Black Spider’ species of the Lilium. Such a combination of colors with purple spots and white tips makes it undoubtedly gorgeous.
Each stem of this species produces upwards of 7 flowers. For that reason, it works perfectly as a container plant but also as a border one. As long as it receives full-sun exposure, it can grow to 3 feet.
Brunello (Lilium ‘Brunello)
Also known as the orange lily, the ‘Brunello’ species grows to about 3 feet and needs full sunlight or partial shade. And more interestingly, the leaves of the plant are often dense and bright green.
Obviously, the exciting part is the color: a combination of orange leaves with red shades makes it impossible to ignore. Each stem can produce a whopping 12 flowers.
Citronella (Lilium ‘Citronella)
A heavily sought-after species of the lilium, the ‘Citronella’ produces gorgeous flowers with recurved petals and bright yellow color. These petals often have red-to-black freckles that make them stand out.
The most exciting part is that each stem can produce 20 flowers per blooming season. Capable of reaching 5 feet in height, this plant blooms prolifically. It needs full sun to thrive.
Dwarf Asiatic Hybrids (Lilium ‘Matrix’)
Considered a hybrid instead of a pure Asiatic lily, the Dwarf varieties come in all kinds of colors and tones. However, the most popular are the ‘Matrix’ and ‘Pixie’ species. Both are bright, slightly freckled, and with petals that can grow pink, orange, or yellow.
What sets them apart is the 2-feet stem that produces anywhere from 5 to 10 flowers at once. They require full-sun exposure.
Gran Paradiso (Lilium ‘Gran Paradiso’)
it boasts some of the thickest petals and gorgeous red-to-orange colors. It has a yellow throat and can grow to over 5 inches wide.
What sets them apart is the ability to grow almost anywhere, from containers to garden and in warm temps. They can also reach up to 4 feet in height. Each stem produces 4 to 8 flowers.
Tiny Todd (Lilium ‘Tiny Todd’)
As the name says, it is one of the smallest species. ‘Tiny Todd’ doesn’t grow more than 2 feet but produces some of the most attractive blossoms, boasting a creamy white with red-to-pink freckles and shades.
This one has a slightly intense fragrance and grows perfectly on containers. More interestingly, each stem can produce 9 flowers and grow at the same height, making it a bed-forming species. It thrives in warmer temperatures than other lilies.
What Does an Asiatic Lily Need to Grow?
Learning about the different varieties and their specific needs won’t be enough. Here, we explain the general requirements for an Asiatic lily to thrive. Check them out:
Space & Containers
Lilies are not the best container plants. They typically need a lot of space to grow well. For that reason, you must try to plant them in a garden at once.
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t container-friendly. Some varieties can grow in pots without any problem. However, they will need to be transplanted to a garden after the first bloom. Because the bulbs start multiplying by dropping seeds, a pot won’t be ideal for them to grow.
For small varieties, a 20-inch pot would suffice for all its life. But even then, it may overcrowd the container quicker than you expect.
Soil & Fertilizer
Lilies need nutrient-rich and well-draining soil. At the same time, they thrive in clayish soil, instead of sandy or mossy. Having said that, anything that drains well will be an excellent soil addition. This could be peat moss, sand, or straw.
Like their need for rich soil, lilies also require fertilizer. A slow-release fertilizing liquid should be more than enough. It’s a great choice to fertilizer the soil consistently (more on this below). Compost and fish emulsions are also worth trying.
Watering & Humidity
Most lilies need wet soils to thrive. Asiatic species require about 1 inch of water. In warm environments, they will need at least 2 inches.
It is essential to water them consistently. As a general rule, you shouldn’t leave the soil to dry out. Some people add mulch to keep the soil moist for longer by increasing retention.
Lastly, it is vital to avoid watering the leaves or flowers. Even though they thrive in humid environments, lilies are prone to diseases and fungus.
Light & Air
There’s probably nothing important for lilies than constant sun exposure. Especially the Asiatic varieties, they need about 6 hours of sun a day. In places with cold environments, they will need 8 hours or more.
Those lilies that grow in partially shaded areas tend to bend towards sunlight. In some cases, they don’t bloom properly or grow half of what they should.
As for wind or air, they need none.
Temperature & Environment
An Asiatic lily is a hardiness zone 4 to 8 plant. Most varieties can be grown in places that reach -20-degrees Fahrenheit in winter and no more than 30-degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. In short, they’re plants for cold environments mainly.
Having said that, you can grow lilies in places of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, given ideal humidity and moderate sunlight exposure.
Most lilies thrive outdoors due to their light requirements. But you can start growing them indoors as long as you can ensure all their needs.
How to Grow Asiatic Lily in 5 Steps
With all the basics noted, it’s time to get your hands dirty. Below, you’ll find 5 steps to follow if you want to grow an Asiatic lily at home. Check them out:
1. Start in the Right Season
There are two seasons where you can plant Asiatic lily bulbs: spring or fall.
For most places, planting in fall is the way to go. This helps the bulbs establish more quickly through the winter. When spring arrives, the plant will be ready to start growing non-stop. This also gives them more prominent and more colorful blooms.
Now, if the place you’re living in has harsh winters (under 0 degrees Fahrenheit), you’ll want to start planting in spring instead. Bulbs that go through harsh winters may not survive or establish properly.
It’s vital to know that whether you’re planting in fall or spring, you should only get the bulbs before planting. They shouldn’t spend more than a day or two hanging around (bulbs don’t go dormant), so they could deteriorate.
2. Select the Right Spot
Once you’ve picked the perfect season to start, you can start choosing the perfect spot. This would be a combination of a place with enough space with one that receives proper sunlight.
It’s recommended that the spot has the best sun exposure early in the morning and late in the afternoon. This is the sun exposure that better fits with lilies.
At the same time, the place needs to be sufficiently spacious. Generally, about 20 inches in diameter would be more than ideal for the first year or two.
If you have no alternative than to plant in small and shaded places, be aware that the plant may not grow as expected and achieve rare shapes as it will try to reach sunlight.
3. Prepare the Planting Area
With the place figured out, it’s time to prepare it. As said before, the plant can grow in either pots or gardens, so you’ll have to prepare the ideal potting soil or garden soil accordingly. This should be well-draining and nutrient-rich.
A wise option would be to mix some compost and/or peat moss. As long as it promotes excellent drainage, it will get the job done.
Then loosen the soil. It should be about 15 inches deep and loosened so the bulb can fit in nicely. This would help the roots establish quicker later on.
4. Plant the Bulbs
Now that you have the soil ready, you should proceed to plant the bulb(s). Once again, we recommend planting them almost as soon as you get them. They shouldn’t spend more than a day or two without soil.
If you’re planting several bulbs, place them at about 12 inches apart. As for planting depth, they shouldn’t have less than 4 inches or more than 6 inches. A general rule is to leave the top part of the sprouting leaves out. The rest of the bulb should be covered in soil.
5. Let Them Grow
It’s time to leave them to grow. If you’ve planted them in the right season, place, and following our methods above – they should start growing without problems.
But to ensure proper growth, you should water the soil and keep it moist. Like said before, don’t leave the soil get dry, and the bulbs should thrive.
After 50 days or so after planting in spring, the plant will start showing its first bloom. If you planted in fall, you’d have to wait until spring, summer, or fall (depending on the variety).
How to Care for Asiatic Lily
The lilies should be growing rapidly and blooming beautifully by now. However, keeping them going well for years will require a bit more. Here are some tips to follow:
Use the Right Fertilizer
Lilies need fertilizer, but not just any type. It is vital to use slow-release fertilizer or fish emulsion. The point is to prevent overfeeding the plant, which could cause disease or stunted growth.
You should water Asiatic lilies no less than twice a week. Generally, they need 1 inch of water to thrive. Any less than that could cause fatal dryness.
Weed Out the Area
Among the few enemies of Asiatic lilies are weeds. It’s critical to weed out the area before planting and afterward. You can always use homemade weed killers.
Prune Dead Flowers
Flowers will start to fade after 30 to 50 days after the first bloom. When they start dying away, remove them with pruners. This will prevent the plant from wasting energy on seeds. They will use that energy in their bulbs instead.
Don’t Cut Leaves Away
In contrast, leaves that are dying should stay on the plant. It’s recommended to let them fall and feed the soil, as this can help keep the soil nutrient-rich.
Add Protective Mulch
Before the plant goes into winter, mulching the soil could help prevent unwanted damage from freezing temperatures.
There’s no time to waste. With our steps on how to grow these plants, you shouldn’t have any problem getting them to bloom. And with our tips on Asiatic lily care, keeping them blooming won’t be much of a problem.
They aren’t too hard to grow and won’t take much money or time. So, what are you waiting for? Get them growing in your garden now – you won’t regret it!