budding gardener
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Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:26 am
Location: BC, Canada

Oriental Lilies

Hi

last summer i planted some already bloomed oriental lilies. I have no idea how to make them continue blooming for future years. Am i supposed to cut the heads off. I read mostly to just pull off the spent blooms and to leave the stalk and foliage to die down naturally. But i've also read to pull the stalk out of the bulb and to let the bulb re-bloom. Which is correct, or neither. I want my lilies to last but have no idea how to care for them so that they will re-blosom. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Never heard of pulling the stalk out and it sounds to me like it would risk injuring the bulb. If you can force more blooming that way, it seems like it would be at the risk of depleting the food supply of the bulb, therefore compromising next years blooms.

I would just remove spent blossoms as they are done to keep it blooming naturally. Once it is done, just leave it alone to continue its cycle. As long as it has foliage, the foliage is still feeding the bulb for next year. Once the foliage is all yellow and dried up, you can clip the stem if you want, but I don't.

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I don't think the stalk "pulls out" until it's all dried and falling over. Oriental lilies usually don't form seeds (I think) but if it tries to, most definitely you'll want to cut the seed pod off, but that's about it. I think I usually don't bother with the stalks until the spring clean up, when they are mostly weathered and do come away without a fuss. In fact, that's what I do with most of my bulbs because I believe the foliage and stalk will feed the bulb until it's done with them.

Sorry, I'm a bit vague because something -- I'm pretty sure chipmunks -- keep eating up my lily bulbs underground. One year, instead of the lily, a whole bunch of sunflowers sprouted :shock: Apparently, Chippie thought that was an equitable barter -- cheeksful of sunflower seeds for the lily bulb. :roll: I know I could cage the bulbs underground, but that seems too extreme. So I keep planting new bulbs when they don't come up any more.... :wink:

I mulch with compost in the fall and again in spring after cleaning up.

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