Lilies are the world’s 4th most popular flower and a common favorite for home gardeners, but how long do lilies last, and can we keep them fresh longer? Lilies have big mesmerizing flowers symbolizing purity. They come in a variety of colors and spread an enchanting aroma.
Once you decide to plant your favorite flowers, you want them to last as long as possible. And to do so, you might want to use some of our tips and tricks.
The Mythical Flower
Lilies, the botanical name Lilium are unique flowers with trumpet-like shapes. Inside the flower, you’ll find a pistil, stamen, and carpel. A myth says the goddess Venus was envious of the lily’s appeal that she let a vast pistil grow from its center.
Lilies are cited several times through distinct historical eras. However, they don’t have any particular use. People assumed the flowers help with fever and even arthritis, but they have no medicinal value.
Even today, bulbs are used in Asian cuisine. They’re starchy, sweet, and resemble turnips or potatoes.
There are plenty of gorgeous flowers with lily in their name – like the water lily or calla lily. Unfortunately, they don’t belong to the Liliaceae family.
The lily is a perennial flower, and despite its exotic look, it’s relatively easy to care for. They grow naturally in tropical climates. Hybridization allowed us to cultivate them in North America, Europe, and Asia. There are around 100 species of lilies.
When, Where & How To Plant
Purchase the lily bulbs in the fall, and plant them a month before the first frost. The onion-like bulbs benefit from crisp weather. By spring, the lily plant will have developed solid roots and will start rising. If you live in a particularly cold region, think about planting the lily in spring. But don’t buy the bulbs in advance. They don’t go dormant and will rot until planting time.
Plant the lily at 12 to 15 inches dept in an acid, well-draining soil. The area needs to have at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. Plant a group of up to 5 bulbs in a spot, a maximum of 18 inches apart, to achieve a gorgeous view.
How Long Do Lilies Last In A Vase
A cutoff lily has a shorter lifespan than one in your garden. If you love to fill a vase inside your home with fragrant flowers, make sure to give them proper care.
Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle. Snip any leaves that would subsequently end up underwater. Pinch the stamens and gently pull them to remove the pollen. Pollen is a known allergy trigger, and it can also create a mess around the vase.
Lilies require water at all times. This type of cut allows them to take in as much water as possible. Fill the vase with room temperature water and add flower food. You can either purchase a premade solution or make it your own.
For a DIY flower supplement, combine 32oz water, 1 tablespoon sugar, some lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon bleach. This recipe will feed the flowers and prevent any fungus.
Keep the vase in a cool place, away from direct sunlight and any pets. Refill as soon as the water level drops by an inch. This way, your lily bouquet will last up to 14 days.
How Long Do Lilies Last In A Garden
How long a blooming lily will last in your garden depends on the climate. In optimal conditions, the blooming period starts at the beginning of summer and lasts until fall. Each flower takes up to 8 days to bloom and then lasts for 14 days.
Asiatic lilies are known to be the first to bloom. Their flowers show up in spring and hold up until summer. Surprisingly, your new lily might not bloom at all the first year. They will form a plant, develop leaves but no blossom. The same goes for older plants. With years, the lily runs out of steam and stops producing flowers. Often, small animals will munch on the bulbs underground, affecting the flowers.
How To Make Lilies Last Longer
The most useful tip to keep your flowers lasting longer is to plant them outside in suitable USDA zones. If you live in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 9, your lily will survive the winter. In zones 3, 10, and 11, lilies are considered annual plants. You can help them endure the winter by planting them in pots and keeping them inside during the coldest days.
Lily plants have a lifespan of two years. If you want lilies so you can have freshly cut flowers the whole season, plant new bulbs each year.
When cutting, never cut more than 1/3 of the stem. This way, the plant will continue to feed and thrive. To extend the life of your arrangement, cut bulbs that aren’t open yet so they last longer inside.
Apply liquid fertilizer to the plant every 2 weeks from the day you plant it until 6 weeks after the last flowers. During flowering, water the lilies every day. In the vase, replace the water every few days.
What To Do With A Dead Lily
Always remove dead flowers as soon as they start to wilt. The plant will continue to feed the lifeless flower until it forms seeds. This means nutrients and energy from the plant won’t go into new blooms but into the dead blossom. At the end of the flowering season, don’t remove any foliage. The plant still intakes sun through its leaves. After the foliage has fallen off, you can dig up the bulbs are transplant them elsewhere.
Bottom Line: How Long Can A Lily Last?
Lilies are among the most beautiful flowers for a dinner table arrangement. To make them last as long as possible, cut the stems properly. Then fill their water with cut flower food and refill frequently.
A lily lasts up to 14 days in a vase, while a blooming lily in the ground lasts up to 3 weeks. Depending on the USDA zone, they can be annual and perennial. They bloom from late spring and well into fall. Proper care and planed planting will provide you with blooms the whole season.
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Mary is a passionate gardener who loves spending her days getting her hands dirty and nurturing her plants. She‘s an avid reader of gardening magazines and is always looking for new ways to make her garden thrive. When not outside tending to her plants, Mary can be found inside reading up on the latest gardening trends, comparing notes with fellow gardeners, and finding the perfect pottery planter for her next planting project.