Do you deadhead lilies? Key tips for glorious flowers

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Lilies are beautiful flowers, often picked to feature in wedding bouquets and used as decoration. While we often see them picked and ready to go into a vase, it’s also easy to grow all kinds of lilies from seed in your garden – if you know-how.

According to RHS Lily Group, Lilium regale is particularly easy to grow from seed, and “is one of the most lovely lilies, full of fragrance.”

While the varieties of Lilium amabile, L. cernuum and L. pumilum are smaller, and “flower quite quickly from seed – particularly if you leave them in their seed pots.”

And “scented L. sargentiae will flower in its seed pot, somewhat stunted, in its second year, then grows into a splendid plant when planted out.”

Depending on the variety you opt for, sowing and blooming takes place at different times.

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Some lilies thrive in warmer conditions, and so need to be grown in a greenhouse or even sealed with plastic bags to encourage growth.

Luckily, RHS Lily Group explains in the UK the changing seasons helps to provide the perfect conditions to trigger germination – and so can be planted out straight away.

When planting your lilies, the variant will determine where they are best planted – so do your research!

Lilies need good drainage and most varieties prefer neutral or slightly acidic compost.

Do you deadhead lilies?

As with most flowering plants, the act of deadheading lilies helps to encourage new flower growth.

Deadheading lilies will also prolong their display.

Gardeners’ World explains deadheading “will also divert energy away from seed production, which can reduce flowering performance in subsequent years.”

When thinking of deadheading your lilies, make sure you check the variant as martagon lilies shouldn’t be deadheaded – as these will gradually self-seed.

There is no set time for deadheading, only when you see flowers fading.

Once flowers have faded, you can break them off gently with your hands.

You can also use a pair of secateurs to snip any faded flowers off.

As tempting as it may be, try not to snip any of the leaves.

This is because those are integral when it comes to storing energy for the winter.

Try and leave as much main stem as possible as well as lots of the leaves.

However, if you notice quite a few of the leaves on one stem are brown, you should remove the entire stem. 

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