The cultivation of lilies

Today is one of those spring days when we wake up thinking about plants like lilies .

In Spain it is usually cultivated as an ornamental and although there are many species within the same genus, the one that is usually cultivated is lillium spp.


The genus of lilies belongs to the lily family , and they are made up of around 110 species. It is a bulbous plant.

Normally the most used and valued species is known as the hybrid lily .

Its origin is wide, since depending on the species some are from Europe, others from North America and others from the Asian continent.

However today we can see this plant throughout most of the world. They are cultivated in most of Europe, in the Asian continent (Japan, China, Philippines), and in America (United States and Canada).

What can we get from the lily? Well, many things.

It can serve as a cut flower for a home vase, or cultivated in our orchard or garden. Think that it is in the ranking 5 of the best-selling flowers in the world (to see who takes the place from roses).

Of course, the Netherlands controls most of the production of bulbous plants, such as tulips, and it was not going to be less in the case of lilies.

Well, it is time to discuss the requirements of the lilies as we are used to doing it, knowing the climate, irrigation, fertilization and some other things.

White lilies. Photo by: jacinta lluch valero


One of the important factors for the cultivation of lillium spp.

It is the light that falls on the plants. They need good amounts of light, enough so that their flower buds are not deformed or damaged.

On the other hand, an excess can cause the loss of chlorophyll, that is, loss of some bright colors in the lily.

The best is an intermediate zone in which half the time passes between sun and shade, allowing good light especially in the formation of the flowers.


The temperature is another factor influential in the development of this plant. The optimum temperature for lily growth is between 18 and 24 ºC. That during the day, at night it oscillates in a temperature of between 12 and 15 ºC.

These temperatures are not always easy to achieve. Especially when the lillium spp. It is intended for the sale of cut flowers, usually developed in controlled temperature greenhouses.

Given these premises in terms of weather needs, the date on which it is usually planted is after the summer , since, as we know, high temperatures are reached in some areas of the Mediterranean.

September and October are the ideal months for this.


The success of the growth of this plant is based on the characteristics of the soil.

soft and spongy soil , which makes it easy for the root system to develop and does not have an impediment to growth, will provide sufficient conditions for its cultivation.

This soil must have good amounts of organic matter , have a depth of at least 30-40 cm and of course have good drainage.

It should also be noted that this crop is sensitive to salinity so be careful with the irrigation water. As for the pH, it borders on neutral (7) with a slight tendency to slightly acidic soil , sufficient with the fertilization of organic matter.


Given that the lily has a great growth and production of large flowers, in some varieties and cases it will be necessary to perform a staking .

We have already commented on this system in other articles, but it basically consists of having a mesh, reed, a network of ropes to help support the plant and direct its growth.

A widely used trellis system consists of buying a mesh with squares of between 12 and 15 centimeters, which we will adapt to the growth of the plant.


When we plant the bulb in our orchard or garden, the first weeks, specifically the first 20 days, we have to be very rigorous with the humidity of the soil .

Especially in September or October, an example of the planting season, the ambient temperature is still high (we had just come out of summer) and the land dries easily. We must water generously and constantly.

After those first days, we will adapt the irrigation to the normal of your crop. This is an irrigation of 2 times or 3 times a week, depending on the dose, and increasing the irrigation when they bloom.


The lilies are not plants that are characterized by being demanding to be demanding in terms of subscriber .

It is usually added around 10-15 kg per square meter of organic matter, such as compost or manure . Consider that the planting frame will depend on the size of the bulb, but it is between 50 and 80 plants per square meter.


Normally most varieties of lillium spp. They are propagated by bulbils obtained from the axils of the leaves or by cuttings.

There is also another typical method of multiplication through seeds , whose purpose for traders is to obtain new varieties, although in principle we, who do not want to make money from this, but simply have an impressive garden, we would not care.

However, it is still an interesting method to obtain new lilies.

One last thing, watch out for pests! It is susceptible to visits from aphids , mites, thrips, as well as diseases related to root rot.

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