How to Fit More Lily in Your Garden

I love lilies and every spring I somehow manage to find room for more of them. Since my flowerbeds are already packed with plants and my garden isn’t getting any bigger, I have had to get creative about where to put them.

A few years ago, I started planting lilies in 1 and 2-gallon nursery pots. I got the idea from a local garden center. In late summer they offer a pot of ready-to-bloom lilies for about $20. A pot of lilies will instantly perk up a tired perennial border or revive a flagging container. It’s a trick I’ve used often — especially when company’s coming.

Growing lilies in pots has another big benefit: you can feel free to use them as cut flowers. If you have an established clump of lilies growing in your garden, it’s fine to cut a few stems. But cutting those long stems comes at a cost. Like other bulbs, lilies need their foliage to produce the next year’s flowers. Unlike most other bulbs, a lily’s leaves are on the stem, so when you cut the stem, you are also removing most of the plant’s foliage.

Growing lily bulbs in pots makes it easy to treat them as annuals. I can cut as many stems as I want and at the end of the season, just toss the bulbs.

If you grow your own potted lilies instead of buying them at a nursery, you’ll save a lot of money. Longfield Gardens offers big, plump Oriental lily bulbs for just $2.08 each when you purchase them in quantities of 15 or more. (The more you buy, the lower the price, so you might want to consider combining your purchase with a friend!)