Lilies – buds not developing into blooms


I’ve had full orange blooms on these lilies for approximately seven summers. This year the buds have seemed to dry up and I can see there will be no blooms (maybe one exempted).

Can you suggest what might have happened or what I need to do to correct this?
Much appreciated! Thank you,
Mary Nickel
266 Blantyre Ave


There are many and varied reasons why your lilies are failing to produce blooms this year – below you will find a brief summery which may help you determine what the problem is.

  1. Your bulbs may be overcrowded and competing for sunlight, water, space and nutrients. If this is the case, lifting and splitting the bulbs is your best option. When you do this, you may find many smaller bulbs which are immature, these will not flower until they reach maturity so replant the largest, healthiest looking bulbs. Smaller bulbs can be planted and grown on to reach maturity knowing they won’t flower for several seasons.
  2. The bulbs may be planted too shallowly. They should be planted at a depth of 4 times the diameter of each bulb so bring your tape measure with you when you are doing this job.
  3. Lack of sunlight may also be a factor in non flowering. Optimally, Lilies need 6 hours of full sunlight in order to produce spectacular blooms but also to recharge the bulbs for next years growth. Look in your garden and determine if trees or shrubs have grown and are now shading the lily bed.
  4. Drought can also be problem. Lilies like to have a good supply of water into a well draining soil.
  5. Too much fertilizer can also reduce blooms as excess Nitrogen (from a lawn or other application) will cause vegetative growth at the expense of flowers.
  6. Competition of roots from surrounding trees, shrubs or perennials could be depriving your plants of water and nutrients. You may have to move the location of the lilies.
  7. Lilies like soil that is rich in organic matter so topdressing with compost, manure or leaf mold is a good idea in order to amend the soil.
  8. Cutting off plant leaves before they die back after blooming can result in bulbs not having the ability to store energy for the following year so this practice is not advised.
  9. Certain types of lilies require a cold period over the winter (asiatic) and others like a milder winter (easter). Determine what type you have and if winter protection is needed, a good covering of leaves, straw or mulch can be of benefit.

Hope this helps.