Bulbs

(Question)

I have purchased a package of lily bulbs. They have already started to sprout and have about 2″- 3″ of growth showing. Should I plant them in a pot now and keep on windowsill till able to plant outside and if so do I cover up the green part with soil?

(Answer)

Thank you for your question.  Now that your lily bulbs have begun to sprout, it is necessary  to pot them up.  Plant them at the depth recommended on the package – the green sprout may be covered by following the instructions but it will continue to grow.  It is a good idea to put your potted bulbs on or near a bright window sill.  Be sure to turn the pot regularly so that the lily grows straight rather than leaning towards the light.

As these bulbs are being started indoors, it is important to ‘harden them off’ before moving them to their outdoor location.  Hardening off means that you gradually introduce them to the outdoor weather conditions.  Start by setting your pots outdoors in a sheltered location for an hour the first day and then return them indoors to a cool bright spot.  Over the next 4 or 5 days gradually lengthen the amount of time spent outdoors until it is a full day.  Plant them in the garden when the weather has warmed up and the soil is sufficiently dry to work.  Protect the seedlings from late frosts.

True lilies such as the trumpet lily and Asiatic lily belong to the genus Lilium.  They prefer to be planted in the fall and require a dormant period to flower at the expected time.  Bulbs planted in the spring may bloom a little later and be a little shorter than expected.  The following season should see the lilies blooming at the expected time and be as tall as expected.

Enjoy your lilies – they are a wonderful addition to a garden!