Thanks Richard. I live in zone 5, a hundred miles west of Chicago and a little more south. I guess I didn't give enough information. I had 22 lily bulbs in packages purchased form the store. A couple bulbs had no stems, a couple less than 2 inches, the rest ranged from 2 to 8 inches.
I planted these plants in a mixture of soil and potting soil. The 2 bulbs without stems, which may be bad, I planted at about 3 inches. The 2 with the shortest stems I also planted at about 3 inches with the stems completely buried. The rest of the bulbs I planted anywhere from 3 to 5 inches with anywhere from half inch to 4 inch of stem showing.
This leaves most of the bulbs planted at less than the recommended 4 to 6 inches. Hopefully they will grow. In the fall, I will come back to this forum and ask if it is alright to dig up a lily bulb after growing for only one season, and plant the bulb deeper for the next season.
I'm not a gardener and don't have any intention of becoming one. There is a lily growing right outside my apartment against the wall. I've been here for 3 years and I don't do anything to the plant, and it keeps growing. That sounded easy, so I figured what the heck, I'll plant some more around the building. No fuss, no muss. We have large overhanging eves and that lily doesn't get much water, the soil is pretty dry. The only thing I can figure is that it is pretty deep and getting water from somewhere. That's why I want the new bulbs to be pretty deep also.
Zone 5b. 100 miles west of Chicago, and a little more south.