Monday, April 29, 2013

Time to Fertilize Lily Bulbs

Spread POOpeas in Midsummer.

The weather around the USA has been a bit more variable this spring than in years past, but now is the perfect time to spread fertilizer around your lily bed if you haven't already done so.  Simply scattering a complete fertilizer, such as vegetable or rose food around the lily sprouts and perennials will go a long ways to providing nutrients for optimum growth.  The ideal time is when the lilies are just beginning to show, but even if some varieties are a foot tall and others are only a couple of inches out of the soil, go ahead and do everything at one time, so the later ones are not missed.

Avoid sprayed high nitrogen formulas because they will weaken your bulbs over time, growing leaves at the expense of flowers.  Kelp or fish emulsion, paired with green-sand, potash and bonemeal is a good alternate to chemical fertilizers and will not "burn" should you apply too much.  Save spreading manure or compost around the stems until mid summer or fall, not in spring, especially when the weather is likely to still be wet. During periods of cold, wet weather you do not want to add mulch or anything that will prevent your garden soil to wick away excessive moisture.  Too much water can rot newly emerging sprouts.

If you completely missed fertilizing your lilies this spring, don't forget to the second application when the flowers are beginning to open.  In an established garden, with regular feeding of other plants, should you miss giving the lily bulbs fertilizer one complete season - don't worry - just catch up the next year.  However, never feeding lily bulbs will diminish their ability to increase in size and number,  plus the main bulbs will tend to wither away with smaller stems and fewer flowers.

Click How to Fertilize Lily Bulbs  for more complete instructions.

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