How to Grow Lilies Throughout the Season
Growth Habit: Most lilies grow as single or multiple unbranched, erect stems from the bulb. Flowers are held in clusters at the top of the stem but can also be borne along the stem in some species. They come in a multitude of flower colors, and the upward, downward or outward facing flowers can be trumpet-shaped, recurved or open.
Lilies are not grown for their foliage, but for their flowers, thus they work extremely well growing in between other fuller perennials and shrubs.
Staking: In general, Oriental hybrids with their large heavy blooms and 3-8 foot tall stems need staking, as do Trumpet hybrids (4’-8’). Asiatic hybrids which tend to form self-supporting clumps over time and are shorter (3-4’) do not. Growing lilies through other shrubs is a great way of providing a natural framework for the plant, whilst hiding their not-so-fabulous legs.
Watering: Lilies benefit from spring rains or a generous gardener during the middle of their growing season, but after bloom (or just before new growth in spring), they can be susceptible to rot and should not be watered excessively or allowed to sit in overly wet soil. If your summers are very wet or you have heavy clay soil, planting them in beds that have been amended with grit can alleviate this problem.
Fertilizing: A top dressing of well-rotted manure, compost or light dressing of a balanced fertilizer in spring can be beneficial.
Trimming & Pruning: Removing spent flowers after blooming at the base of the flower will allow the plant to concentrate its energy on bulb development rather than seed development.
Mulching: A light dressing of mulch is a good idea, but think in terms of compost, leaf-mold or well-rotted manure which provides trace nutrients as well as organic material.