A Complete Guide to Planting Lily Bulbs in Pots for Stunning Container Displays

We bet you already have some lily bulbs in your garden, and maybe someone gives you some potted lilies every spring. But why not plant your own in containers? These beautiful flowers deserve to be in the spotlight, and that’s easy to do with containers.

With their elegant, trumpet-shaped blooms and heavenly fragrance, lilies are one of the most beloved bulbs for gardens. But did you know that lilies also make exceptional container plants? Growing lilies in pots allows you to add these statuesque beauties anywhere you want dramatic color and need a movable plant.

Read on to learn everything about choosing the best lilies for containers, proper planting techniques, ideal potting mixes, and care for thriving, long-blooming potted lilies.

Why Grow Lilies in Pots?

There are many great reasons to try growing lilies as container plants

  • Moveable color – Potted lilies can migrate to wherever you need a burst of beauty. Place them on patios, decks near entries or spotlight them in combinations.

  • Perfect for small spaces – If you don’t have an in-ground garden,containers are ideal for growing lilies on balconies, patios or porches.

  • Extend the season – Enjoy lilies longer by planting successive batches for continuous color.

  • Protect bulbs – Container growing prevents lily bulbs from being dug up by animals or damaged by poor drainage.

  • Control over crowding – Potted lilies don’t spread out of control like in garden beds. Divide when pots get congested.

  • Easy height adjustments – Place taller lilies towards the back of containers and shorter varieties up front for interest.

  • No Cutting required – Grow potted lilies specifically for cutting so you don’t have to reduce your garden lilies.

With proper selection and care, potted lilies will reward you with weeks of vivid color and wonderful fragrance!

Choosing the Best Lily Bulbs for Pots

While most lilies can be grown in containers, some varieties are better suited than others. Here are the ideal types to pick:

  • Asiatic hybrids – The most popular lilies for containers, Asiatic lilies produce many sturdy, upright facing blooms in bold colors on shorter stems.

  • Oriental lilies – Large, showy flowers with intense fragrance are carried on tall, strong stems perfect for pots.

  • LA hybrids – A cross between Asiatic and Oriental lilies, these have the best attributes of each – colorful, fragrant flowers on strong stems.

  • Upright Oriental hybrids – Bred specifically for cut flowers, these Orientals have excellent upright facing blooms for pots.

Avoid heavier, wider lilies like Martagon hybrids that tend to flop over in containers. For maximum impact, plant bulbs of different heights together.

How To Plant Lily Bulbs in Pots

With proper planting techniques, your potted lilies will get off to a vigorous start. Here’s how to plant them right:

  • Choose a container – Pick a pot at least 12-16 inches wide with drainage holes. Use plastic or glazed ceramic – porous terracotta dries out too fast.

  • Use free draining potting mix – Aim for a light, well-aerated mix like one for orchids. Regular potting soil stays too wet.

  • Plant bulbs 4-6 inches deep – Lilies need deep planting. Place bulbs in pot with tips up and roots below.

  • Pack soil firmly – Remove air pockets by pressing soil down firmly around bulbs. This stabilizes stems when blooming.

  • Group 3-5 bulbs per pot – Planting in groups creates a full look with multiple blooms.

  • Water thoroughly after planting – This settles soil and starts roots growing. Let drain fully before moving pots.

Follow these steps, and your potted lilies will establish a vigorous start to their growing season.

Caring for Potted Lily Plants

Giving your container lilies proper care will keep them flowering beautifully all season. Here are the keys to success:

  • Water 1-2 times per week – Check soil and water when the top few inches are dry. Don’t let pots completely dry out.

  • Fertilize every 2-3 weeks – Use a balanced liquid feed like 15-15-15 or one made for bulbs.

  • Provide bright, indirect light – Aim for at least 6 hours of sunlight, avoiding hot afternoon sun.

  • Turn pots weekly – This prevents stems leaning one way toward the light.

  • Stake tall stems – Add unobtrusive stakes and soft ties to support heavy blooms.

  • Remove spent blooms – Cutting off faded flowers keeps plants neat and focuses energy into bulbs.

  • Watch for pests – Aphids, thrips and lily beetles sometimes attack container lilies. Treat promptly.

With attentive care, your potted lilies will thrive and flower abundantly all season long.

Ideal Potting Mixes for Lilies in Containers

The potting medium you grow your lilies in is key to good drainage and healthy roots. Here are the best options:

  • Light commercial potting mixes – Look for blends formulated for orchids, succulents or African violets.

  • Regular potting soil + perlite/pumice – Mix in up to 30% amendments like perlite or pumice to lighten the texture.

  • Peat or coir-based mixes – These soilless media provide moisture retention yet drain well when blended with perlite.

  • Compost– Up to 30% compost improves moisture retention and adds nutrients, but ensure excellent drainage.

Potting mixes for lilies should always be light, porous, and fast-draining to prevent rot-causing wet feet. Test prospective mixes by adding water – if it drains freely, it will work.

Avoid plain garden soil which is usually too dense and slow-draining for container lilies.

Frequently Asked Questions about Growing Lilies in Pots

If you’re new to planting lily bulbs in containers, here are answers to some common questions:

What size pot do I need for lilies?

Choose at least a 12-16 inch diameter pot. Lilies have substantial root systems and need room to grow. Depth should be at least 12 inches too.

How many lily bulbs in one pot?

Plant 3-5 bulbs together in larger containers for best visual impact. Place the tallest varieties in the center and shorter ones around the edges.

When should I plant lily bulbs in pots?

The best time is in the spring once the danger of hard frost has passed. Potted bulbs need time to establish roots before summer heat arrives.

Can I force lily bulbs to flower in pots?

Yes! Many hybrid lilies can be “forced” to bloom earlier indoors. Start bulbs in pots in early winter, keep cool for the recommended time, then bring indoors for flowering.

Should I fertilize potted lily plants?

Definitely fertilize container lily plants every 2-3 weeks once growth starts in spring. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength that has an NPK ratio like 15-15-15 or one formulated for bulbs.

Enjoying Luscious Lilies on Your Patio or Deck

With the right bulbs, soil, and care, anyone can succeed at growing elegant, colorful lilies in pots. Imagine how they’ll dress up any outdoor living space with weeks of bright blooms and sweet scent. Getting started is easy – just grab some bulbs and containers, follow the planting and care tips above, and soon you’ll have your own potted lily paradise!

6 Reasons to Plant Potted Lilies

We could simply say “Because they’re obviously amazing,” but we really want to drive the point home.

  • A fun and easy way to garden and the stunning beauty of lilies come together in this one-of-a-kind treat.
  • It saves you money compared to buying lilies that are already potted up. Lilies that are already potted up and blooming cost $25 or more each. You can make your own lily container garden for a lot less money. A lot of our lilies cost less than $10 for three bulbs!
  • You can get the exact kinds you want without having to give your garden center or home improvement store your word. No more being forced to buy what everyone else has!.
  • Potted lilies let you bring lilies inside without cutting your bedded lilies. As you know, flowering bulbs need their leaves to stay whole after they bloom so they can store energy for next year’s blooms. So, if you cut a lot of your in-ground lilies for arrangements, they will lose some of their strength over time. Potted lilies are the answer!.
  • Lilies in pots can be moved around. You can put them on your dining room table, on your front porch or patio, or at the edge of your garden.
  • They add a touch of the exotic. Lilies are the most “look at me” flowering bulbs, with their big petals and bright colors and patterns.

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We bet you already have some lily bulbs in your garden, and maybe someone gives you some potted lilies every spring. But why not plant your own in containers? These beautiful flowers deserve to be in the spotlight, and that’s easy to do with containers.

How to Grow Lilies | How to Plant Lily Bulbs | 3 Great Ways | Summer Flowering Bulbs

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