Lily Winter Care

Lilies are a beautiful and popular choice for gardens and are easy to care for during winter. While some lilies are winter hardy and able to survive freezing temperatures, others are more tender and may need a little extra care to make it through the winter. Proper winter care is especially important for lilies in regions with cold wet winters, as the combination of cold temperatures and moisture can lead to bulb rot. If you want to ensure that your lilies survive the winter and come back stronger the following year, there are key things to consider when overwintering these beautiful bulbs.

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Protecting Lilies in Winter

You can take a few steps to protect your lilies in the winter, but remember that not all of these measures may be necessary for every plant. One thing to consider is covering your lilies with a protective layer, such as a layer of mulch or organic compost, to help insulate the bulbs from the cold. If you choose to cover your lilies, remove the cover as soon as the weather starts to warm up, as the plants will need access to sunlight and fresh air to re-emerge. 

Cutting Back Lilies For Winter

Cutting back lilies in the fall or winter can be beneficial for several reasons. First, removing all faded foliage can help prevent the buildup of pests and diseases, which can be especially important in the spring when the new growth is emerging. Also, cutting back lilies can also help the garden look neater and more organized, which can be helpful in the winter when the garden may not be at its most attractive.

To cut back lilies, use sharp scissors or pruning shears to remove the spent foliage. Cut back the foliage to the base of the plant, as this will prepare the plant for new growth in the spring.  

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Lilies Winter Care in Pots

If you have potted lilies, you will need to take a few extra steps to care for them in the winter. Potted plants are more vulnerable to cold temperatures than those planted in the ground, as the pots can pull heat away from the plant's roots. To protect your potted lilies in the winter, find a protected place to store them away from the cold and frost. Some good options for storing potted lilies include a garage, basement, or shed. If you don't have access to a protected space like this, you can place the pots on a protective porch, or cover them with a thick layer of insulation, such as straw or bubble wrap. Finally, check on your potted lilies regularly during the winter and water them lightly if the soil has completely dried out.

Watering Lilies in Winter

Lilies do not require any watering in the winter as they are dormant and not actively growing. If you have lilies planted in the ground, be sure to cover them well, especially if you have wet winters. To be safe, you can always dig the bulbs up and store them in a cool, dry space indoors. If you have potted lilies, you may need to water them once to make sure the soil doesn’t completely dry out. Check the moisture level of the soil if the pot does not receive any natural precipitation.

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Growing Lilies Indoors

Lilies are generally considered outdoor plants and are best grown in a sunny spot in the garden. However, it is possible to grow lilies indoors in pots as long as you can provide the plants with the right growing conditions. When growing lilies indoors, choose a sunny location with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day and a temperature between 59 - 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Lilies also need well-draining soil and regular watering to thrive, so choose a pot with drainage holes and water the plants as needed to keep the soil evenly moist.

One thing to remember when growing lilies indoors is that the plants need to go through a period of dormancy to bloom again. The plants will stop growing during this time, and the leaves will yellow and die back. This is a natural part of the plant's life cycle and is essential for the plant's long-term health. Place the plant in a cool location around 50 degrees F, and stop watering and fertilizing for a few months to allow your lilies to go through their dormancy period. Then, after the dormant period, resume watering and fertilizing the plants to encourage new growth.

Steps To Care For Lilies in Winter

Here are a few steps you can follow to care for lilies during the winter:

Step 1 - Remove all spent foliage from the plants at the end of the season to prevent the buildup of pests and diseases

Step 2 - Protect the plants from extreme cold and heavy snowfall by covering them with a protective layer or moving them to a sheltered location

Step 3 - Check on indoor plants regularly and water them as needed to prevent them from drying out

Step 4 - If the plants are potted, move them to a protected location in the winter, and moisten the soil once to prevent it from drying out completely

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Author Chris Link - Published 1-27-2023