The Asiatic lily, also called the golden-rayed lily owing to the streaks in the center of the flower that resembles the sun, is a garden plant favorite. Its biological name is the Lilium Auratum, and it has recognizable, sleek, glossy leaves.
For visual appeal, this plant has no match. To learn how to grow Asiatic lily correctly, and for the best tips to care for it, follow our comprehensive guide detailed below!
What is the Asiatic Lily?
Depending on the species you get, a bloom of light, powdery pastels or bold, beautiful colors will decorate your plant around springtime. The primary difference between Asiatic lilies and other kinds is that Asiatic lilies have very negligible to no scent, while others have notable fragrances.
People with scent-related allergies can enjoy the visuals of this beautiful plant without restraint. Asiatic lily plants are among the larger species of lily- growing from 1-6 feet tall, with tall leaves.
The bulbs multiply every season, as long as they are provided nutritious, well-drained soil every springtime. Don’t confuse Asiatic lilies to oriental lilies - their fragrance, sizes, growth rate and requirements, and the color of their flowers are all different.
Lilium Auratum Features and Growth Rates
In generally different climates, there is no denying that Asiatic lilies in the garden can be high maintenance plants. If you are sowing the plant around fall time, bulbs will grow shoots within a few weeks.
Most types of Asiatic lilies take around a month and a half for the flowers to bloom fully. Potted lilies are hard to maintain, and so getting the timing of planting asiatic lilies and other environmental conditions right is a must.
Growing multiple types of Asiatic lilies brings you the bonus of having some kinds of lilies in bloom from June-August. Once the bloom is full and fresh, the growth will stop and the plant will collect nutrients for the next blooming season.
Asiatic lily bulbs have coloured buds, but those in no way indicate what color the flower is going to be when it blooms. Asiatic lilies have large flowers, growing up to 6 inches across and generally an egg white with red hues.
These plants can also be extremely resilient, given that the flowers of the plant store plenty of nutrition from before. This enables the plant to thrive even in sub-par soil, insufficient water, inadequate fertilizer and an onslaught of pests.
How to Grow Asiatic Lilies
If you are new to gardening and want to beautify your garden space, the bright and sprightly Asiatic lily is a must-have addition to your plant family. The fruits of your labor in planting asiatic lilies will be quickly realized- the plant flowers very fast, and also multiplies quickly.
The Asiatic lily also fits right in with any color templates you have planned for indoor décor. Asiatic lilies can be orange, white, red, pink, yellow, lilac and a plethora of other colors.
Asiatic lilies are great favorites for people with perennial flower beds in their garden because they never let you down when it comes to blooming.
However, if you would like the best results when it comes to plant growth and bloom, you need to keep in mind their sun, soil and spacing requirements.
Come blooming season, lilies need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. This is the primary reason as to why you should keep them outdoors.
Make sure that the Asiatic lily plant is positioned correctly in your garden to receive the needed hours of sunshine. Make sure other fixtures, trees and buildings aren’t casting a shadow on the plant.
Areas with waterlogging are supremely bad for the growth of Asiatic lily plants. If you plan on making Asiatic lilies a permanent addition to your garden, you should consider installing sloped plant-holders. This will ensure that any extra water in the pots or in the soil is drained out.
The first thing to keep in mind is that Asiatic lily plants shouldn’t be getting their light blocked by any plants or trees. While planting asiatic lilies, make sure the hole is dug 3 times the total height of the bulb, which will be around 6 inches in depth.
Space the planting holes for each bulb more than 10 inches away from the other. For the best visual appeal, bunch the bulbs in groups of 3 or 5. The pointier end of the bulb should be at the top.
Place the bulb in the planting hold and cover with soil, then tamp gently and water the entire area thoroughly. To slow evaporation from the small plants, water a tad more than you would a fully grown plant.
Asiatic Lilies Propagation
Growing Asiatic lily from seed in different climates is a very labor-intensive process, and a lot can go wrong. Therefore, you should rely on the many kinds of propagation you can do to grow Asiatic lilies in your garden space.
Some of these include using bulb scales, stem bulblets, stem bulbils, and bulb division and very easy, risk-free processes to follow.
Propagating Asiatic Lily Using Bulb Scales
Firstly, use healthy, fresh bulbs, selected soon after the plant has stopped blooming. Remove all soil, grit and dirt from the bulb. Identify and break off the scales, swiftly and cleanly.
Create well-drained soil in pots or in your garden prepared beforehand, and simply plant the bulbs into the soil. The bublets that grow soon will turn into Asiatic lily flowers in the next blooming season.
Asiatic Lilies Propagation Using Stem Bulblets
If you have passed the season to pick out the scales and plant them to get Asiatic lilies, you can also propagate the plan using stem bulblets. Search for bulblets underneath the stem of the plant- be very careful while doing this so as not to harm the plant.
The bublets in this plant are quite large- around the size of a marble- and look like small onions with scales and roots on them. Select as many bulblets as you need, and plant the bulblets 4 to 6 inches in well-drained soil.
You can plant bublets in garden spaces and also in good potting soil. For them to bloom in the best manner possible, it is recommended that when the bulblets grow around 4-inch tall leaves, you transfer them into the garden for the blooming season.
Propagation by Stem Bulbils
If bublets have grown beyond the time you can use them for propagation- around midsummer- you can use stem bulbils instead. Smaller than bulblets and darker in color, bulbils are found in the leaf axils.
They may have roots and leaves already starting to form around them. A stem from the Asiatic lily plant can multiply into more than 100 bulbils, so having the lily population in your garden multiple every growing season is an easy job!
Pot your bulbils in well-drained soil in advance of the blooming season. To provide the best environmental conditions for your bulbils to grow, transplant them into a designated garden area after leaves are formed on the plant.
Lilium Auratum Propagation by Bulb Division
This is the latest stage during which you can rely on propagation to grow Asiatic lilies. Bulb division propagation is best done towards the end of summer.
The process generally involved digging up bulbs, and looking for fresher, newer ones to be combined with the main lily plant’s bulb at what is called the basal plate. Use the leaves and roots around the bulb as a handle for extracting the bulbs.
You can keep the bulbs in the fridge for as long as 6 weeks, and plant them as soon as fall comes around. Expect to have, if everything has gone well, beautiful lily plants by the next summer during the blooming season.
Growing Asiatic Lily from Seeds
Using seeds to grow any plant is a more difficult undertaking, so follow all the steps for planting meticulously. Firstly, choose early spring time or right before frost (this would be right before the onset of winter) to plant the seeds or flower bulbs in well-drained soil.
Waterlogged soil and mushy soil instantly weakens and kills the plants, so use pots with a good drainage system and get your hands dirty sifting to check soil moisture levels.
A good root system is needed for the plant to thrive, multiply and bloom every season, so you can use organic plant food to keep the plant sprightly. Things like peat moss added into the soil also make the Asiatic lily flowers appear even more vibrant and sprightly.
Caring for Asiatic Lily
Mulching can be supremely beneficial for the maintenance of your Asiatic lily plants. The best time to mulch your plants is when the plants start growing, placing around a 3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant.
Mulching on time, with good quality mulch, prevents dehydration, wades away weeds, and keeps optimum soil conditions for the plant to grow in its early days.
Good quality plant food serves as an immunizer and booster for younger Asiatic lily plants. Make sure that the plant food you are using is created for perennials from the lily family.
There are 2 key times when giving lilies robust, organic plant food will result in better growth (See our review on the best organic fertilizers here). Firstly, when the plant puts up shoots. Apply plant food for the second time when the flowers start to bloom.
Watering Asiatic Lilies
As for watering, the worst mistake you can make with regard to Asiatic lilies is overwatering. Overwatering leads to standing water, which is a breeding ground for root rot, disease and pests.
The most water your plant needs through the week is around an inch- the soil needs to be thoroughly well-drained, especially if other plants nearby are getting watered in larger quantities.
In the cases of no rainfall, or drought, you can water the plant more liberally and make up for the lack of nutrients with plant food.
Pruning Asiatic Lilies
The beauty of Asiatic lilies makes them a favorite adornment at many restaurants and events. Weddings, especially, use lilies in vases, centerpieces and bouquets, especially white Asiatic lilies.
We all like having flowers cheering up any space we are in, but there is a correct method to pick lilies to prevent them from graying and wilting immediately after they are cut.
Firstly, use sterilized garden scissors or pruning shears (Check out the best pruning shears here) to cut the blooms whose buds are just beginning to open. Be warned that the pollen in Asiatic lily plants can dye furniture and clothes with color, so remove the pollen after opening the flowers.
For people with pollen allergies, there are Asiatic lily species that can be grown as double flowering, or you can purchase a new kind of cultivar that grows without pollen.
Don’t go overboard while cutting the blooms from the stem- always leave more than a third of the stem intact. This ensures that the plant will have enough bulbs leftover to flower the next year around as well.
To keep lilies looking pretty in vases and pots, remove the leaves on the lower parts of the stems, but keep those on the upper section.
The best way to ensure you get lily flowers in full bloom for 2 weeks without them being on the plant is to change the water in the pot every day. Don’t keep lily flowers, especially those not on the plant anymore, in direct sunlight.
Harvesting Asiatic Lily
The best way to harvest Asiatic lily plants is to divide the bulbs and replant them every fall for more flowers next season. To prevent your bush from becoming over-run and over-crowded, you should divide them every year, especially when the plant seems overrun with growth.
Make sure you get bulbs that are at least a good 6 inches away from the base of the lily stem. You can give away the bulbs to fellow gardeners or replant them elsewhere on your premises.
Lilium Auratum Diseases, Pests and their Treatments
If your lily plant is looking under the weather, it's most likely because of these diseases that commonly plague lilies
Sickly lilies are probably suffering from one of three problems:
- Botrytis Elliptica – If the leaves on your Asiatic lily plant have circular spots of discolouration on them, with a dark ring surrounding them, the plant most likely has the disease.
- Fusarium Oxysporum/Rhizoctonia Solani – It is common for lily leaves to become slightly yellowed for lesser issues such as dehydration, but that may also indicate something more troublesome, namely oxysporum.
This disease rots the basal plate at the bottom of the bulb, and therefore irreversibly weakens the root.
- Tulip-breaking virus – If you are noticing dull, streaked leaves and misshapen, distorted flowers, and also fewer blooms than before, chances are your plant has tulip breaking virus.
Lilies don’t always show signs outwardly of being sick, so you need to inspect your Asiatic lilies frequently to intervene in a timely manner. The most common treatments to the infections most likely to plague your Asiatic lilies:
- Trim out, making sure to be careful and not cutting out non-diseased parts of the plant, the affected material. The best way to ensure that the germs in the plant are killed off is to burn the area with the rot and dispose of it to get rid of rot permanently.
Don’t throw diseased roots and plants, even soil, into the compost bin since that’s very likely to contaminate your next bed of lilies as well
- Make sure you use sterilized, sharp and rust-free garden equipment to perform the cutting operations on your diseased lilies, since some viruses and fungi are very contagious and may affect your other plants as well.
- Lily infections can sicken and kill many beds of lilies, and so make sure when you are in the process of replanting your Asiatic lilies, you choose an entirely different location.
The oxysporum, especially, lasts in the same soil for a whopping 5 years!
Time to Grow Asiatic Lily in Your Garden
With their unassuming care schedule, their aptness in multiplying into many more glorious flowers, and their specialty in making any surface they’re on vibrant and beautiful, Asiatic lily is a must-have plant!