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What is a Tree Lily?

The Ultimate Quick Guide to Tree Lilies

By Hannah Miller at DIY Gardening

Lilies are beautiful garden plants, and the tree variety will make an impact whether grown in a container or in a border.

Tall and hardy, each plant can produce dozens of large trumpet blooms.

Tree lilies aren’t actually trees but they have taken this species to a new height – up to 2.5 metres to be precise, but it will take up to 3 years to reach this potential.

Everything about tree lilies is bigger; large bulbs up to 18cm, thick 5cm stems and up to 30 20cm trumpet blooms.

Buy Tree Lilies Online

You can buy tree lily bulbs online:

  • Fast delivery.
  • 9 or 18 bulbs per pack.
  • Plant up to spring.
  • Flowers in July and August.
  • Grows up to 2.5 metres tall.
  • Up to 30 blooms per plant.

Details:
Latin Name:
Lilium
Also Known As:
Giant Lily, Super Lily, Tree Lily.
Colours:
Mixed.
Postion:
Full Sun/Partial Shade, if possible with roots in the shade
Height:
Up to 1.5m in year 1. Up to 2.5m by year 3
Bulb Size:
10cm-20cm
Planting Depth:
3 times their height
Planting Distance:
20-40cm
Planting Time:
Spring
Soil Type:
Well drained, fertile
Hardiness:
Very - no need to lift for winter, light mulch in extreme cold winter
Flowering Time:
July and August
Poisonous:
Yes, inc to pets
Water/Fertiliser:
Yes but maintain good drainage

When to Plant Tree Lily Bulbs

Plant out as soon as the bulbs arrive provided the soil is neither frozen nor waterlogged. Otherwise store the bulbs in a dark, cool location and plant out by late March.

Location

The best location for tree lilies is in full or partial sun in soil that’s well-drained. If possible, choose a spot where the roots are in the shade and the blooms will be in the sun.

Depth and Spacings

As a general rule of thumb, insert the bulbs to a depth 3 times their height.

The bulbs can be spaced 20cm to 40cm apart but closer in containers.

Support and Stakes

Tree lily stems are around 5cm thick so are sturdy enough to support the weight of the foliage and blooms until the plant reaches 1.5metres in height, after which it will benefit from some support in the form of staking. This is optional but recommended.

Tree lilies grown in windy, exposed locations should always be staked for support.

The best garden stakes and supports can be found here.

Water, Fertiliser and Soil

Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged and apply a general fertiliser during the growing season. The best soil is fertile but free-draining.

Pests

Tree lilies are poisonous so deter most pests but the lily beetle is active from March to October and will devour the leaves.

Read how to deal with lily beetles on the Gardener’s World website.

Overwinter Care

Tree lilies are herbaceous perennials that die back to ground level each year. The bulbs then sprout again in the spring.

As winter-hardy plants, they do not require lifting or storing for the winter but, in particularly cold climates, may benefit from a top layer of insulating mulch.

As with all bulbs, the foliage and stems send energy to the bulb, even after flowering, and this is needed to ensure the bulb survives the winter and performs well the following year.

Tree lilies

Tree lilies

Tree Lily Summary

Tree lilies are an excellent addition to any garden where vertical interest is required.

Grow in pots or in borders where they can grow up to 2.5 metres.

Expect up to 30 large trumpet blooms from this low maintenance plant that comes back year after year.

You can buy tree lily bulbs from here.

More From Hannah Miller:

This quick guide to growing tree lilies was created by Hannah Miller, is one of many plant growing guides here and was last updated in October 2021.

Hannah is a keen amateur gardener, mother and a former NHS administrator.

She enjoys gardening as much as she cares about the environment and likes to share her knowledge with others.

Hannah is a keen photographer, and you’ll find hundreds of her photos throughout this site. She also contributes to our blog; check out her latest posts here.

Author Hannah Miller

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This tree lily growing guide was published by DIY Gardening

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