Lily flower

How to grow lilies from bulbils

Find out how to propagate lilies from bulbils, in our How-to guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do not To do in December

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.


You Will Need

  • Lily plant
  • 30cm pots
  • Multi-purpose, peat-free compost

Total time:

Step 1

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

Removing lily bulbils from the plant
Removing lily bulbils from the plant


Step 2


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.

Planting the lily bulbils
Planting the lily bulbils

Step 3

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.

Watering the lily bulbils
Watering the lily bulbils

Step 4

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.

Young lily plant
Young lily plant