For best results with the variety of colorful lilies, the North American Lily Society has recommended guidelines.
-- When planting the society suggests creating a hole with the proper depth, which can vary with bulb size and lily variety. But the hole should be large enough to accommodate spreading roots.
-- Small bulbs should be 12 inches apart and large bulbs should be about 18 inches apart. Leave no air pockets. Water bulbs immediately after planting.
-- Conventional wisdom is that the best time to plant bulbs is in the fall. But lily bulbs can be stored over winter and planted early in the spring.
-- Because lily bulbs can be expensive, the society suggests a method to propagate them from a single bulb. Lily bulbs are made up of layers of scales.
The lily society said that in the late fall after the lily's stem turns yellow the lily bulb may be removed from the soil.
Gardeners may then break off four or five of the large outer scales as close to the base as possible. The main bulb should be replanted immediately.
The removed scales should be washed and dusted with a powdered fungicide and then spread in a shady spot to dry for a day.
The scale may then be put into a plastic bag along with a handful of vermiculite and then sealed.
Add a few ventilation holes and store in a dark closet that will stay about 70 degrees. It is important that the scales do not dry out.
However, gardeners should be warned that planting scales or the pea-sized black bulbils produced on tiger lily stems can take one year or several seasons to produce a bloom.
More information on lilies is available online at www.lilies.org.
(Source: North American Lily Society Inc.)
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