By Jennifer Poindexter
There are some flowers which make you stop and take a second glance. The Madonna lily is one of these flowers.
This is a classic plant which has been enjoyed for over 3,000 years. People seem to love the sweet fragrance, smooth leaves, and bright white, trumpet-shaped flowers. If you’d like to add this plant to your landscape, ensure you understand what it needs before you begin.
I’ll walk you through the basics of growing the Madonna lily to ensure you know which growing conditions are best, what the plant needs to be cared for properly, and how to protect it from common threats around the garden.
When you’re ready to add the Madonna lily to your garden, here’s what you should know:
Growing Conditions for the Madonna Lily
The Madonna lily is a perennial flower that’s known for its prolific blooming. This plant produces up to twenty blooms per stem during its growing season.
Expect these flowers to bloom during spring and summer. They’ll become dormant during the hottest portion of summer and produce new leaves in autumn. However, the leaves of this plant are deciduous, so they should die back as winter arrives.
Madonna lilies reach heights between four and six feet and grow to be one to two feet wide. This plant does have a few specific conditions for its growing location.
First, these flowers remain hardy in planting zones five through nine. In other zones, they should be brought inside to overwinter or treated as annuals. Next, be sure to plant the Madonna lily in a location which receives full to partial sunlight. The ideal growing location has morning sunlight and afternoon shade. Finally, be sure to grow this flower in nutrient-dense soil that drains adequately.
One final note on picking an adequate growing location is to be mindful of what has access to this plant. If you have outdoor cats, you don’t want to plant this flower where they can get to it as the Madonna lily is toxic to them.
If you can supply these growing conditions, the Madonna lily should be off to a solid start.
How to Plant the Madonna Lily
When growing the Madonna lily there are a few different ways for you to go about it. The first method is to plant these flowers from bulbs.
This should be done during the fall. Ensure you grow the bulbs in groups of three or more and leave one foot of space between groups.
Till up the earth in an adequate growing location, plant the bulbs in groups, and cover with one inch of soil. Water the bulbs heavily at the time of planting, and they should appear in the spring.
The next method is to propagate the Madonna lily from seed. You should start the seeds over the winter months by planting them in a well-draining growing medium within a growing tray.
Press the seeds into the soil and mist them lightly with water. Wrap the growing container in plastic wrap to provide a greenhouse effect.
The seeds should grow in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame. Ensure the soil never fully dries out by checking it daily.
Over the months, the plants should sprout. When they outgrow their current growing containers, transplant them into something larger.
Once spring arrives, move the new plants outdoors to a permanent setting.
The final method to growing the Madonna lily is by division. If you already have mature Madonna lilies growing around your property in bunches, dig them up after blooming has ceased.
Once the roots of the bunch are out of the ground, use a garden tool to divide the bulbs. Then transplant the newly divided plants into a new growing location.
Water the bulbs well, and they should become established in their new growing area.
These are three methods for growing the Madonna lily. Pick the method which works for the materials you have and the skills you possess to add this beautiful flower to your surroundings.
Caring for the Madonna Lily
The Madonna lily is an extremely low-maintenance plant. Once it’s in the ground, there’s little else you should do.
In fact, the only thing this plant needs from you is occasional watering and pruning.
When growing this flower, you should ensure it receives adequate moisture. It’s recommended to practice the deep watering method to ensure the moisture is balanced in the soil and the area never becomes oversaturated.
To water this plant deeply, apply water for longer periods of time, fewer days of the week. This should saturate the roots, and soil surrounding the plant, at the time of watering.
As the days progress, and the plant needs more water, it’ll dig its roots into the ground to retrieve the necessary moisture.
In turn, this creates a stronger root system which could lead to a healthier plant overall.
However, it’s important that you don’t leave the plant in a soggy state as this could lead to rotting issues.
The only other thing you must do to care for the Madonna lily is prune the leaves when they turn yellow and begin to die back.
These are the things the Madonna lily should need from you as it grows around your home and garden over the years.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Can Impact the Madonna Lily
Madonna lilies aren’t immune to issues in the garden. Though they don’t face a high number of threats, there are a few things you must be alert to.
The main pest which threatens the Madonna lily is the aphid. These pests can be treated by spraying the plant with soapy water or by treating the plant with an insecticide.
The most common diseases which impact this flowering plant are fungal based issues such as blight. When treating fungal issues, it’s best to use a fungicide.
However, prevention is key. Ensure you grow your Madonna lilies in areas with well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight. This should provide warmth and ensure the plants are never left in an overly saturated state.
This helps because fungal disease thrives in areas of cold and dampness. It’s also important to divide your Madonna lilies when the bunches become too full.
By dividing the plants, it helps ensure there’s adequate airflow around the flowers. This should dry moisture on the foliage faster which can help deter fungal based issues.
These are the few items you should look for when trying to protect your plants. If you catch these problems early, your Madonna lilies stand a greater chance of survival.
Uses for the Madonna Lily
Some gardeners grow plants for their enjoyment outdoors. While others like to know they can use a plant for more than one use.
In the case of the Madonna lily, it’s useful when included in a cut flower arrangement. However, be mindful how you harvest this flower.
When in bloom, you may remove the flowers from the plant. Be mindful not to remove more than half of the stem where the flower is attached.
Lilies depend upon the leaves of the plant to store nutrients, so that they may return in future years.
If you remove too much of the stem, the plant may not return. Once the flower is removed from the plant, enjoy it indoors in a homemade bouquet.
This way, you’ll be able to enjoy your Madonna lilies both indoors and out throughout their growing season.
You now know the basics for growing the Madonna lily. This is a vibrant, low-maintenance plant that doesn’t need much more than adequate growing conditions and water.
By supplying what the plant needs, you should experience prolific blooming from your lilies. Enjoy this natural beauty as it brightens the landscape around your home and causes you to stop and smell the lilies rather than the roses.