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How to grow lilies from bulbils


Several varieties of lily form small bulbils on their stems from late summer to autumn, from which new plants can be propagated. If they fall off the plant, they rarely grow into large plants, so it's best to remove the bulbils by hand and plant them in pots. Grow the bulbils on until the following summer, then plant them out where you would like them to flower. Be patient; it can take up to three years before they start producing flowers.

How to do it


Carefully remove the tiny bulbils growing from the leaf axils of the plant.


Treat the bulbils as if they were large seeds. Plant several in a pot or multi-stemmed tray of multi-purpose compost, spacing them 2.5cm apart.


Cover with a layer of compost and water well, allowing the water to drain. Place the pot or tray in a cold frame or on a sunny windowsill.


Seeds will germinate within a couple of weeks. Once the roots are poking out from the bottom of the tray or pot, carefully transplant each seedling into individual pots to grow on.

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Talkback: How to grow lilies from bulbils
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NuttyNutkin 24/11/2011 at 15:29

This article is just a "sound bite" - let's have a bit more depth.
Useful info would include optimum temperature for overwintering and alternatives of what to do once the bulbils are "grown on".
I live in Scotland, where a cold frame can reach many degrees below zero. On the other hand, a window sill can become quite warm. Would either of these situations be ok?
Also, can the plantlets be potted up individually and grown on until they make flowering-sized bulbs?

perrycornish 24/11/2011 at 15:29

I just want to say, my advice is do follow this, it is so rewarding to grow lilies from bulbils, I have and now have several plants of which I am inordinately proud;)lol