Lily bulbs are never completely dormant and need to be planted as soon as possible. You can delay planting for 2-3 weeks by keeping the bulbs in a cool, not frozen (34-40° F.), area of a garage, basement or refrigerator, but longer and you risk bulb damage. You must open the shipping box to check your order and then reclose any plastic bags before short term storage. Our packing material protects your bulbs and absorbs excessive moisture, but if large water droplets form within the plastic bag, poke more “air” holes in the sides of the poly bag, being careful to not damage your sleeping bulbs. Lily bulbs are happiest in the garden where they can begin growing new roots immediately.
Choose an area with good air circulation and well-drained soil. Waterlogged soils, with poor drainage or too much “organics” in the soil mean certain death to lily bulbs. A sloping site with natural drainage is best. When planting in heavy clay, try mixing perlite or sand with the native soil to create raised beds 8 to 10 inches above ground level, or make raised beds of garden-safe, treated wood. If bothered by moles, mice or gophers, nail 1/4-inch galvanized hardware cloth on the bottom of the framework before you backfill with good soil. Sandy loam soils rich in humus with a pH of 5.5-6.5 are ideal.
Lilies look most natural planted in triangular groups of three, spaced 12”-18” apart. Provide at least 6 hours of sun, dappled shade in very warm regions for Orientals. Cover bulbs with fluffy soil and mulch to control weeds and maintain even ground moisture. Plant bulbs 2”- 4” deeper in areas where daily temperatures average over 90 degrees F. and the soil is sandy. Do not plant among aggressive ground covers or where large trees or shrubs will rob nutrients or moisture. Lily bulbs need regular fertilizer, water, and cultivation. They do NOT “naturalize” like Daffodils or Tulips, which have a hard outer shell. Be sure to mulch bulbs in cold climates if a good winter snow cover is not expected. Likewise, in more temperate areas, cold saturated soil will rot lily bulbs some years, so a raised area and fast-draining soil is recommended.