Do I have to wait until after last frost to plant the bulbs outdoor? Also I want to stagger the bloom time of the bulbs so I will get flowers throughout the summer, can I stagger the planting time to do this? Also is there an advantage to start the bulbs indoor in a container and then move it outside?
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.
For a hardy bulb like lily, you do not have to wait until after last frost to plant them in the garden. Flower bud formation in lilies are triggered by temperature and day-length; it is difficult to alter flowering time without specialized heat and light controls. Staggering planting time would have a minor influence on bloom time at best, and wouldn’t make an early-blooming lily flower later in the season, or vice versa. If you want summer-long lily blooms, a much better bet is to choose varieties from across the lily family. For example, Asiatic, Martagon, and species lilies generally bloom in early-summer, while trumpet lilies bloom in mid-summer, and oriental lilies bloom the latest. The ‘Stargazer’ is an oriental lily, so you may want to complement it with some early-blooming Asiatic lilies. A fun way to familiarize yourself with the lily family is to browse the catalogues of reputable bulb companies, which would always specify the kind and bloom time of the lily in question.
We wish you the best of luck with your lilies.