If you’re interested in learning how to propagate lilies, the two best methods are via seeds and division. The great news in starting lilies is that you have a high chance of success whichever way you choose. However, consider propagating lilies in the polytunnel to ensure that you won’t have germination or rooting problems.
You also want to know the ideal growing requirements of the species you have. There are many kinds of lilies, and they vary in some habits and preferred conditions. You must adjust your British environment and practices to ensure that you’ll grow hardy lilies.
How To Grow Lilies Successfully
The first method that you can do to start lilies is from seeds. According to North Dakota State University, this is the preferable way to propagate lilies if you want to guarantee success. More so, you can let your plants self-pollinate, but the drawback of growing lilies from seeds is that it can take them years to flower.
Step #1. Determine the germinator type
Before you start propagating lilies from seeds, you have to determine what is the germinator type of your lily species. These groups include immediate seed germination, epigeal slow seed germination, and hypogeal slow seed germination. As one can assume, the first group is the easiest to start, and the last group is the trickiest to grow.
Both the immediate seed germinator and epigeal slow seed germinator lilies have the same germination procedures, but the latter takes longer to germinate. On the other hand, the hypogeal slow seed germinator lilies will require extensive preparation. Place them somewhere warm for three months until the root grows, let them undergo cold treatment for six weeks, and grow leaves and stems from a warm period.
Step #2. Sowing
Once you’ve done the requirements of the lily species you have, you’re ready for sowing. Epigeal germination lilies start best in autumn, and you can sow them directly outdoors as soon as the seeds mature. Ensure moist soil, and you can fertilise every two weeks once they sprout.
On the other hand, hypogeal germination lilies require preparation, as mentioned earlier. Start them in spring inside a plastic bag with moist peat moss. Ensure the moisture of the moss and store them somewhere warm like the greenhouse.
The seeds should form bulbs after three months, and you can place the bag in the refrigerator. After three months, sow the seeds in well-draining soil. You can treat your seeds as you would when you planted epigeal germination lilies.
The second way to propagate lilies is through division. You can do this in the autumn and transplant the bulbs and young plants from the mature plant. Depending on your lilies, you can also remove the offsets or bulblets from the mature plant and replant them.
Step #1. Digging
To make digging more comfortable, you want to cut the stems first and dig around the plants. This way, you can easily lift the bulbs without damaging them. Separate the bulblets from the bulb and cut the stem above it as well.
Step #2. Planting
The best time to plant is immediately after you divided the bulbs to prevent them from drying out. It would help if you planted both the bulbs and bulblets, but the latter should not be as deep. Gardeners in the UK often mulch as well to protect the plants from the cold temperature.
If your plant has no offsets, you can grow them from the bulb scales. Remove the scales and place them in a bag with moist peat moss. Store the bag at room temperature to encourage the formation of bulblets that you can replant once they developed roots.
You can grow lilies in the polytunnel as well if your climate is fluctuating or undergoing extreme temperatures. More so, those in the UK’s freezing regions typically store their bulbs in the greenhouse. Once the environment is warmer, you can replant in spring.
When To Transplant Lilies
Remember that dividing and transplanting the bulbs formed by your lilies is part of their maintenance every two years. The best time to transplant lilies is by the end of September or at the beginning of November. However, you still need to check your growing zone.
Some lilies should wait before frost later in the season, while others require quick moving. Either way, you want the bulb to have enough energy to produce blooms. You can also check your plants if their foliage starts turning yellow to indicate when you should dig them up.
Overall, you need to lift and separate the bulbs to ensure healthy blooms. Some lilies require planting immediately for overwintering in the ground. But as mentioned earlier, you can also store the bulbs in the polytunnel for transplanting in spring.
Lilies are one of the most diverse groups of flowering plants. Therefore, you must learn how to propagate lilies to know how to start the species you have successfully. You can sow them from seeds or divide and transplant their bulbs.
When propagating lilies from seeds, you want to check the germination group of your plants. Some lilies require preparation or hypogeal germination to guarantee development. On the other hand, you can also sow some seeds directly in the autumn.
If the foliage on your plants starts to turn yellow, this might also be an excellent time to divide them. Carefully dig and lift the plant from the ground and separate the bulblets from the bulb. You may also overwinter them in the polytunnel for transplanting in spring.