Do Lilies Come Back Every Year? 6 Tips To Grow Lilies Better

by Lee Safin

Unlike most flowers, lilies are perennials grown from bulbs.

“A lily or a rose never pretends, and its beauty is that it is what it is” — Jiddu Krishnamurti.

It’s hard not to like‌ ‌lilies. Lilies can grow and offer elegant blooms that enhance the yard or garden from early summer ‌to‌ ‌midsummer.

Do lilies come back every year?

Yes, lilies do come back every year if you can take proper care. They will keep returning year after year if they are adequately cared for. Unlike most flowers, lilies are perennials grown from bulbs.

However, you need to make sure you have planted them at the right place and at the right time while providing favorable growing conditions.

Read More – Best Fluorescent Grow Lights

Do Lilies Come Back Every Year?

Do Lilies Come Back Every Year?
Do Lilies Come Back Every Year?

It is not difficult to grow lilies, they are hardy, and they usually steal the show wherever they are‌ ‌planted. Other‌ ‌perennials‌ ‌are just outmatched by the size, color, and fragrance of their big flowers.

Lily bulbs are typically ‌buried‌ ‌deep‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌ground. However, near the soil surface, some species produce bulbs. Stem roots are common in many species. They allow the bulb to grow naturally within the soil at a certain depth.

A new stem emerges each year from the soil with adventitious roots. Additionally to the roots that form at the bulb base, these roots grow from the stem.

Lilies grow in different ways, depending on their type. There are several conditions that determine whether you will see your lilies every year.

1. Growing Environment

When lilies are exposed to full sun, they perform best. However, partial shade is also a suitable growing environment.

2. Zone

The lily is a perennial plant that can grow outside in zones 4-9. In addition, zones 3 and 11 can be used as growing zones for these annual plants.

3. Planting time

Ideally, planting lily bulbs should take place in early spring or fall. Regardless of the season, your flowers will bloom during the summer, usually from the middle to the end.

Why My Lilies Are Not Growing Every Year?

If your lilies are not growing every year, there could be several reasons.

  1. A Lily’s growth may depend on the size and quality of its bulbs.
  2. Bulbs that are overcrowded produce fewer flowers.
  3. Lily bulbs planted too shallow reduce their growth.
  4. Lilies are not receiving sufficient sunlight.
  5. Foliage with fewer flowers is caused by too much nitrogen.
  6. Lilies’ growth is reduced if leaves are removed too early.
  7. When it’s too dry, it can affect the growth of lilies.
  8. If you don’t plant lilies regularly, it may also affect lilies’ growth.
  9. Though periodical pruning is good for lilies, cutting them inappropriately may affect their growth directly or indirectly.

To know more about “How Do You Get Daylilies To Bloom All Summer?” Check our latest article.

Do Lilies Die And Come Back?

The leaves of lilies provide the bulbs with the energy to grow the following season. The subsequent growth and flowering may be diminished if you cut them back prematurely.

Can Lilies Be Left In The Ground Over Winter?

In order to flower well, lilies usually require a cool winter climate. As a result, a winter indoor environment is unsuitable for lilies.

Many hardy types of lilies can be left in the ground over the winter. In any case, containers are best for keeping them.

Bubble polythene may have to be wrapped around containers in winter to avoid frost damage. Keep cold-weather lilies in frost-free sheds until the spring, especially in freezing climates where tender lilies grow.

Do Lilies Multiply Each Year?

Usually, lilies will grow in a location that suits their needs and bloom again every summer if planted in a good place.

You must not cut the stems of your lilies for them to bloom this way. Wondering why? Their foliage on stems characterizes lilies. If the bulb doesn’t have foliage, it can’t produce enough energy for flowers.

Lilies should be treated as annuals if they are to be cut for cutting. Lily bulbs should be planted in directly ground or nursery pots. In this way, you can cut off any number of stems, toss the bulbs in the compost ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌end‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌season.

What To Do When Lilies Have Finished Flowering?

To keep your plants neat, cut off all the faded blossoms. The spent flowers can eventually be removed in their entirety.

However, avoid removing stems as much as you can. You should let the leaves and stem grow to their full size‌ ‌until‌ ‌they‌ ‌turn‌ ‌yellow‌ ‌in‌ ‌late‌ ‌summer‌ ‌or‌ ‌fall. Keeping the stems a few inches below soil level, cut the stems.

Lilies can survive‌ ‌in‌ ‌zones‌ ‌4-9. For an entire winter, you can leave bulbs in your garden.

Lily bulbs multiply over time, and the clumps of plants become prominent and numerous. The lily bulb isn’t bothered by crowds. Hence, in most cases, they don’t have to be divided.

How Do You Store Lilies Over The Winter?

Cut The Inflorescence

With garden shears, cut the inflorescences of the lilies back at the soil line to 2 to 3 inches tall. You can loosen the soil around the callas by using a garden trowel from 3 to 6 inches away.

Trap The Lilies

Trap lilies about six inches from the ground with the trowel, and shake the soil ball up and down gently to loosen the roots and rhizome contained within. The lilies and soil ball need to be lifted off‌ ‌the‌ ‌ground.

Remove Soil Clumps

You can use a wood skewer or pencil to remove soil clumps from the roots and rhizomes. Rhizomes should be rinsed under flowing water to remove‌ ‌soil.

Ensure the Temperature

A table or tray out of direct sunlight and protected from the wind and rain should be used to arrange the callas in a single layer, about 2 inches apart. Unless the temperature is below 60 degrees F, the callas should cure outside for three days to a week. Cure the callas indoors, away from direct sunlight, and in a low-humidity room if the outside temperature is too high or low.

Again Remove The Remaining Soil

Using a wood skewer or pencil, remove any remaining soil from the roots and rhizomes.


Use peat moss or vermiculite as a substrate to line a vented plastic container. A reasonable distance between each calla is about one inch.

Fill The Spaces

Fill the spaces between the callas with a substrate, covering them with one or two inches of it. In a low-humidity, frost-free Environment, place the container.

Spray Water

If your rhizomes seem a bit dry, spray some water from the spray bottle onto the substrate.

To know more about “how to protect lilies from frost?” Check our latest article.

How To Grow Lilies Better: 6 Tips

Choose Your Lilies Type

Lilies‌ ‌come in a range of blooming times, flower heights, shapes, and flower styles. The‌ ‌most popular are:

Lily Varieties Shaped Space required
Oriental Hybrids Bowl-shaped 45cm
American Hybrids Cap-shaped 45cm
Candidum Hybrids Trumpet-shaped 30cm
Martagon Hybrids Turk’s-cap shaped 30cm
Asiatic Hybrids Trumpet-shaped 45cm

Planting Your Lilies

The bulbs of lilies are generally harvested in the early fall by most commercial growers, even if they may be planted in spring or ‌fall. In order to enable them to buy the bulbs in spring, they store them in coolers for the winter.

Be Careful When Handling Bulbs

There is no protective covering around the lily bulbs, unlike tulips and daffodils. Lilies should be planted as early as possible to prevent them from drying‌ ‌out.

Don’t damage their scales by handling them roughly. The outer scales of the fish have nothing to worry about.

Ensure Good Soil & Sufficient Sunlight

Soggy soil eliminates the growth of lilies. As for the soil itself, any good, organic‌ ‌garden‌ ‌soil‌ ‌is‌ ‌fine except the soggy soil.

To encourage strong root development, mix in some shredded leaves or any other organic matter when planting. If the soil is dry, mulching the soil surface will maintain a cooler temperature and reduce moisture loss.

In order to grow lilies, you should place them in whole or at least partial‌ ‌sun. A shaded area is appreciated by them when it’s scorching outside.

To know more about “how to protect lilies from frost?” Check our latest article.

Lilies Need Space To Grow

Lilies do not need much space in the garden, but they dislike being crowded either. Lily foliage is limited to a small amount on the stems of the plants.

You must leave enough space around the plants to promote healthy growth and healthy flower production. So the stems and leaves of these plants receive sunlight.

Group Plants Together

Planting lilies in a group of three or more will best showcase their beauty. Planting holes should be 8″‌ ‌deep. In the bottom of the hole, sprinkle some all-purpose fertilizer and mix it around to get it evenly distributed.

Afterward, fill the hole with loose soil, then place the bulbs inside. Hence, there are six or seven inches of depth. In pots, lily plants also do well. Three bulbs should be planted ‌per‌ ‌2-gallon‌ ‌pot.


Hopefully, we have gotten your answer to this golden question, “Do lilies come back every year?” So, follow our instructions to increase your lilies’ growth and take care of them appropriately.

About Lee Safin

Lee Safin was born near Sacramento, California on a prune growing farm. His parents were immigrants from Russia who had fled the Bolshevik Revolution. They were determined to give their children a better life than they had known. Education was the key for Lee and his siblings, so they could make their own way in the world. Lee attended five universities, where he studied plant sciences and soil technologies. He also has many years of experience in the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a commercial fertilizer formulator.

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