How to Grow Lilies From Seeds

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You can start some types of lilies from their seeds.
You can start some types of lilies from their seeds. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The genus Lilium includes about 80 species of lilies and hundreds of hybrid varieties. Lilies bloom in summer and the flowers come in a rainbow of colors, depending on the variety. This flowering plant grows from a large bulb, which grows into multiple bulbs that you can dig up and separate to create more plants. But you can also make new plants from the seeds that form after the flowers fade. Asiatic and trumpet lilies are hardy in USDA climate zones 3 to 10, making them an easy flower to grow almost everywhere in the United States.

Things You'll Need

  • Asiatic or trumpet lily seeds
  • Containers with drainage holes
  • Potting soil
  • Vermiculite
  • Plastic wrap
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Fluorescent lights or grow lights

Collect seeds from Asiatic or trumpet lilies after they turn soft and brown on the flower stalks. Dry the seedpods indoors for two or three weeks in a warm, dark, dry, well-ventilated area. After they are dry, you will be able to shake the seeds out of the pods.

Fill nursery pots or other containers that are 4 to 5 inches deep with a combination of potting soil, vermiculite or perlite and, if you wish, a handful of sand or organic material such as compost. Create a light combination that will hold some water yet drain well.

Plant several seeds in each pot about 1/4 inch deep. Cover them with a thin layer of sphagnum moss. Keep the soil moist. You can promote moisture by covering each pot with plastic wrap. Remove the plastic wrap when you water and as soon as the seeds sprout above the soil surface.

Set your seeded pots under fluorescent lights or halogen grow lights. You can also place your pots outdoors in a sunny location, but be sure to bring them indoors at night if you begin your seeds before your final spring frost. Also protect seedlings from heavy rain or hail.

Dilute a balanced water-soluble fertilizer to half strength and feed your plants once each week. After seedlings begin to grow, fertilize them with a high nitrogen fertilizer twice each month. Cascade Bulb and Seed suggests using 1 tsp. of ammonium sulfate mixed with each gallon of water.

Transplant your lily seedlings to the garden after your final spring frost, leaving 6 inches between plants. Choose an area that has deep, rich, well-draining soil and full sun.

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