How to Deadhead Oriental Lilies

How to Deadhead Oriental Lilies

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Plants that fall under the lily banner all have different visual advantages to offer, and the oriental lily is definitely among the showy members because of its vibrantly coloured blooms. Not only are the blooms blessed with lavish colours, but their size and fragrance are unforgettable.

If you have been wondering whether it is necessary to deadhead oriental lilies, this is the article you should read. First things first, let’s clear some confusion between Oriental and Asiatic lilies.

Oriental and Asiatic lilies; what is the difference?

While their names suggest they may be the same kind of flower, they present different characteristics. Oriental lilies are popular for their distinct smell, while Asiatic lilies bear a faint smell. Another major difference would be their blooming times because Asiatic lilies come up as spring begins, and oriental lilies wait until mid-summer to early autumn to bloom.

Furthermore, while oriental lilies present two-colour flowers, most Asiatic lilies bear a singular colour. Asiatic lilies are what you need if you want short potted plants and oriental lilies are suitable if you are looking for tall flowers as they can grow to over six feet.

These lily varieties have something different to offer depending on the hybrid. If you have a keen eye, it will be easy telling them apart because even the foliage is different. Asiatic lilies manifest long bright green narrow leaves, while oriental lilies’ foliage is a darker green and broader. If you are unsure when making a purchase, confirm with the seller to avoid getting the wrong plants.

Read next: How to grow lilies in pots

Deadheading oriental lilies

Deadheading is crucial for most plants, and that is why you find it encouraged for plants cultivated for their blooms. Unlike other flowering plants where deadheading is seen as a way to increase blooms, in lilies it doesn’t work the same.

Deadheading for lilies is more of a tidying up session and allows the plant to sit pretty. It also helps prevent the development of seed pods if you don’t want the plant producing seeds. By removing the spent flowers, the plant can focus on storing food to support the next season’s growth.

If you want to grow lilies from seed check my guide here as you want to keep some seed pods

How to deadhead lilies

Deadheading oriental lilies is not complex, in fact, it is quite straightforward. You can employ the use of your hands or sharp shears. The idea is to cut off the flower together with the small green base attached to the stem. You can see fading flowers from their appearance; once you spot them, use secateurs or your find and thumb to pinch the flower off or seed pods if that is what is left.

The more you let the flower stay on the plant, the more the seed pod at the base of the flower develops. Ensure to remove the spent flowers only and not the foliage because the plant still needs to store energy for the coming season.

Read next: What to do with lilies after flowering

Caring for oriental lilies

Oriental lilies are not high maintenance plants, as long as they are sitting in slightly acidic or neutral soils with plenty of sun. These flowering bulbs struggle in alkaline soils; therefore, test your soil before planting.

Dividing the plant is also vital for the long term wellness of the plant. This is usually done after three or four years to create new plants and reduce competition for nutrients. Additionally, you would want to feed the plants in spring to give them enough energy to support the blooms.

Read next: What’s eating my lilies

Word of caution

Oriental lilies are beautiful but can cause a world of pain for your pets because they are toxic when ingested. If you choose to keep oriental lilies, keep your cats and dogs away from them by erecting physical barriers or using chilli to deter them. If your pets contact the pollen externally, wash the pollen out of the fur to prevent absorption of the toxins through the skin.

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