Lily Propagation [HOW TO]

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Lily plants are beautiful plants, whether for your garden or as a gift to another loved one. People adore these striking, sweet lilies that add a lot of vibrance to your backyard garden, or your front pavement garden. They usually bloom in the summer season and bring an air of fantasy to your place by making sure everyone around you adores your garden 🙂 That’s the plan, anyway!

But how are they grown? How do you propagate lilies using lily bulbs? What are the things that you must know before getting started? What are bulbs or bulbils?

Propagate Lily plants

Lilies are beautiful plants that have a few ways to propagate. We will talk about each method in detail, so you can know exactly which one you would like to follow to ensure the best health of your plant as well as to get the best results! Of course, these plants require minimal care, so that’s another major advantage of planting lily in your garden.

When to plant?

Most regions would prefer lily bulbs being planted in fall, right before winter. If you start in autumn, your lily plants will boost themselves by taking advantage of the winter to produce major blooms. If you do, however, plant in winters, you can do so only after the extreme cold has passed.

If you are in an area where it snows, make sure not to plant lily during the snowfall. Growing in containers is however an entirely different story and you can do that all year round, with the preferred time being during the start of summer.

Lily bulbs are the way to propagate lilies, so buy them at the right time. The right time means right before you are going to plant them. The bulbs do not like to wait around before being planted as they start deteriorating.

Before getting started with lily plants, you must first understand a few terms that are often used with lilies.

Lily bulbs are the way to reproduce lilies. The bulbs are organs of perennation that lilies require to propagate as well as reproduce. They are located in the roots of lily plants that you can find and use.

Bulbils are another way to describe bulbs. They are made when the bulbs divide themselves into two. The bulb itself becomes the parent bulb and the other part becomes the bulbil. The bulbil can further create even smaller bulbils that are located between the stem and leaf of the parent plant.

Remember that taking out these bulbils or bulbs is completely painless and will not hurt your plant. It is also very easy to do.

How do you plant lily bulbils?

As we have now cleared up what lily bulbs and bulbils are, we can learn how you can plant lily bulbils in your garden and watch them grow into the beautiful flowers that we all love.

You can grow lilies using seeds as well, but the main method is to use lily bulbs to propagate. There are a few reasons for that, of which the most important one is that growing lilies from seed will create a new plant altogether, but growing lilies from bulbs will result in an exact duplicate of the parent plant that you got the bulb from.

This helps in creating exact replicas, especially if you love the parent lilies that much. The process is lengthy and requires a lot of patience, as it could end up being two years before you will be able to see the blooms from the bulbils.

What is scaling? Why should you do it?

Scaling lily bulbs is a fantastic method that will help you in making more lily plants in your garden. It is a very inexpensive way to reproduce lilies, as all it requires is for you to have lily bulbs and you can start right there. You can also use this method to sell these lily bulbs for (hopefully) great profits in the markets, especially if you know what you are doing 🙂

Enough about that, though: Scaling is using lily bulbs to create more lilies. It means to multiply the number of lily plants using their bulbs and bulbils. You can break the bulbs into smaller parts, which become bulbils that you can use to scale your plants. Some of the reasons you should use this method to scale lily plants include the following:

  • The plants will turn up exactly like the parent plant that provided the bulb
  • Lily plants grown from bulbs will survive longer than normal lily plants.
  • Can make a great profit by selling bulbs further

With all of that said, we can now start talking about how you can scale lily bulbs.

How to scale lily bulbs?

First things first, you need to understand that this is a process that must be filled with patience and care. If you perform every step properly, you will be able to see the beautiful blooms on lilies after around two years. Now that is indeed a long time, and it requires commitment, dedication, and hard work from you.

The good part is that you can multiply these plants pretty quickly because of how many bulbs they produce within themselves. Even if you plant a single lily bulb, you can expect 6-12 bulbs and sometimes even more that you could use to further propagate or sell, if you want.

Now, if you have multiple lily plants, you will potentially have hundreds of bulbs that you can sell depending on your area and local market. If you can learn how to grow and care for these plants, the sky is the limit for lily scaling.

Now, here’s what you need to know about how to scale and grow lily bulbs.

  1. Remember that lily bulbs are made for scaling. You can easily cut them and divide them into bulbils that will scale your plant as much as you want because you can create at least 6-12 bulbils from each mother bulb.
  2. Once the blooms from the previous planting have died, you can start by digging up the soil and taking out the bulbs. Do this after at least 6 weeks after the blooms have died.
  3. Scaling is only optimal for fresh lily bulbs. Make sure that you dig out the soil and take the bulbs once the foliage has become yellow.
  4. On the bulb, notice the scaly parts, those are the scales that you are going to cut using a knife.
  5. Use a glove and clean any dirt from the lily bulb.
  6. Get a sharp knife that you will now use to divide the bulbs into further bulbils.
  7. Make sure that the bulbs are not wet. Cut them into multiple pieces. Remove as many scales as you wish but not all the scales, and put the bulb back once you have taken out your desired scales.
  8. NOTE: Do not take out all the scales as it will kill the mother bulb.
  9. Start planting the new bulbils and happy planting.

How to take out scales

Since we have already mentioned what the scales are, a lot of people have difficulty understanding how to cut the scales. Once you have dug up the soil and taken out the bulb, you must be able to see the scales.

The trick here is to remove only one-third of the total scales and replant the mother bulb in the garden. Make sure that you do not damage the mother bulb during this entire process and do not wet it either. You also do not want to make your garden overcrowded with beautiful lilies, so using an optimal number of scales would generally be a good idea.

How to plant lily scales

Once you have the scales with you, now is the time to start preparing to propagate them. Start by using a well-mixed cutting compost that you will use to mix with the scales. Put the scales in the compost and keep them in indirect light. Make sure that your mixture does not face any harsh or extreme temperatures.

After around 6-8 weeks, your scales will have formed little bulbils of their own that you can use. On average, you can get around 3-5 bulbils per scale that you now use to plant further lily plants. Once you start seeing the growth of the bulbs, you can now shift places for the plant and bring them to a less-humid setting.

The timing is key here, and fortunately, lilies are very kind when it comes to timing. You can plant the lily in the garden once you can see a small shoot out of the top of the soil. The scales are now growing and you can plant them in a container or the ground.

Conclusion and care

Lilies are forgiving plants that you can see blooming in 1-2 years. You can use containers or your garden soil to plant these beautiful flowers that will add color, vibrance, and life to your place. While the method to use lily scales may take a lot of time, it is certainly equally rewarding.