All you need to know about growing lilies
1. Bulbs are available from May until August. For a succession of lilies, buy a few extra packs and keep them in the crisper box in the fridge to plant a little later in the season. Keep an eye on them; once the shoots appear, they must be planted out.
2. As they have fleshy scales, lily bulbs need to be kept moist and are packed in peat moss. When buying them, check to see they are firm and unblemished.
3. To prevent them drying out, plant them as soon as possible in well-composted, free-draining soil. They like their heads in the sun but their feet in the shade; protect them from the hot afternoon sun.
4. For maximum impact, plant the bulbs in groups, 15–20cm apart, with the pointed end upwards and at a depth of about three times their diameter. The top of the bulb should be covered with 10cm of soil; 5–7cm for small bulbs.
5. In cold regions, protect emerging bulbs from frost by covering them with upturned terracotta pots.
6. Protect them from snails; where mole rats are problematic plant them in wire cages.
7. Keep them moist but not wet. Feed them regularly during the growing season.
8. Taller lilies need to be staked, especially in windy areas, as they can get top heavy when in full bloom. Asiatic hybrids seldom need staking.
9. After flowering, remove the deadheads leaving as many leaves as possible to manufacture food for the following year.
10. Leave the bulbs in situ for about five years or until they become overcrowded. Once the foliage has died back in autumn, lift, divide and replant the bulbs immediately.
11. Bulbils which form in the axils of leaves and small stem bulbs near ground level can be planted up and should flower after about three years.