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Lily / Lilium
For a long time Lilies have been considered by most gardeners to be too difficult to grow and despite the stunning results that are possible most gardeners do not attempt to grow them.
Lilies are one of the most diverse group of flowering plants and generalisations are not particularly helpful. The range of colours takes in the full floral spectrum with the exception of blue.
Plant heights can be as low as 45cm right up to a towering 2 metres. Some plants thrive in alkaline soil others prosper in acid soil, some like sun, some like shade.
Cultivation of Lily Plants
Lily bulbs should be planted between 10 and 30cms apart from each other. They should be planted in the ground immediately after purchase to avoid the possibility of any drying out. Any shrivelled bulbs should be kept in a tray of moist compost for 7-10 days before planting out.
All lilies need good drainage and will not tolerate water-logged sites. As some lilies have very specific soil requirements it may be possible to only grow some varieties in containers where suitable soil conditions can be met.
Lilies do best when their roots are in the shade and the leaves and flowers are in full sun. They also require generous space around them but should be protected from strong winds. During the growing season water regularly and in the spring mulch plants with leaf mould, compost, or rotted manure.
Propagation of Lilies by division is the best way to increase flowering stock. When clumps of rhizomes become overcrowded, usually every three or four years, they should be lifted, divided and immediately replanted during the winter months.
Lily Pests and Diseases
Lilium can be affected by slugs that feed on the foliage. Aphids can transmit viral diseases also. Roots can come under attack from leatherjackets. A fungus called Botrytis may cause difficulties in humid conditions.