Planting lily bulbs in the spring


Dear Master Garderner,

I received an order of oriental, trumpet, and asiatic lily bulbs on March 23rd 2020. I live in Mississauga (Zone 6a) and it is still snowing outside as of today. I read online that i should plant the lily bulbs as soon as i received them, but i know with other summer-flowering bulbs that you are supposed to plant them close to the last frost date (April 29th). I am unsure what to do with my bulbs. Do i plant them now (late march)? Or do i try to keep them indoors unplanted in a cool area for a couple of weaks? If i should keep them indoors, how should i store them, when should i plant them?

I very much look forward to hearing from you!


Thank you for your question to Toronto Master Gardeners.

I recommend that you follow the instructions on the package you received. Bulbs are generally mailed at the right time for planting. A snow day is not great, so as soon as the ground is workable and not soggy, you can go ahead and dig in. Be sure to plant them deeply enough and in rich composted soil.

While you are waiting, you can keep them in their original bags in a cool, dry spot in the house. Do not let the bulbs dry out while you are waiting.

An excellent sourcebook for lily (and all) gardening care advice is an old standby, The New Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada, Reader’s Digest, 2000.

Enjoy the season ahead, whenever it comes.