In the captivating realm of gardening, few flowers captivate the senses quite like the Stargazer Lily. With its vibrant hues, captivating fragrance, and striking appearance, the Stargazer Lily has become a favorite among flower enthusiasts. Whether you're a master gardener or just starting to cultivate your green thumb, the journey of growing Stargazer Lilies promises a symphony of colors and aromas that can transform any space into a botanical paradise.
In this post, we will share how to grow stargazer lilies and unlock the steps, tips, and insights to make your Stargazer Lily journey a truly unforgettable experience. From choosing the perfect location to nurturing its growth, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge to bring these celestial blooms to life in your garden.
Full Sun to Partial Shade
USDA Zones 4-9
What Are Stargazer Lilies?
Stargazer lily (Lilium orientalis 'Stargazer') is a crossed hybrid specifically cultivated to create upward-facing flowers rather than blooms that droop downwards like other oriental lilies. They have deeply-fragrant flowers with a somewhat spicy aroma.
The beautiful blooms of the stargazer lily have "reflexed" petals that curve back sharply towards the sturdy stems. These stems stay strong after being cut, and the blooms stay fresh, making stargazer lilies excellent cut flowers to add to your cutting garden! Although many color variations of stargazer lily are available, most cultivars have deep pink centers surrounded by thick white edges. These high-contrast blooms are particularly attractive to pollinators!
Common Varieties of Stargazer Lilies
Pink Stargazers: Pink Stargazers are a vibrant and captivating variation of the original Stargazer Lily. These lilies showcase deep pink to crimson petals that are often adorned with white edges and contrasting spots. The intense pink coloration gives these blooms a bold and striking appearance.
Similar to the iconic Stargazer Lily, Pink Stargazers are renowned for their captivating aroma, establishing them as a preferred selection for bouquets and floral compositions. The vibrant pink shades of these lilies infuse an element of romance and sophistication into any environment.
White Stargazers: White Stargazers offer a serene and ethereal take on the Stargazer Lily. Instead of the vivid pinks, the petals of White Stargazers are pure white with delicate white-edged tips and contrasting spots. This color variation lends an air of purity and sophistication to the blooms.
Despite the color change, White Stargazers retain the same captivating fragrance characteristic of the original Stargazer Lily. These lilies are often chosen for weddings and special occasions, symbolizing purity, elegance, and new beginnings.
Golden Stargazers: Golden Stargazers, also known as Orange Stargazers, introduce a warm and vibrant twist to the classic Stargazer Lily. A cross between Oriental lilies and trumpet lilies, these lilies feature petals in shades of golden orange, adding a sunny and cheerful element to their appearance. The brilliant golden tones shine prominently, forming a captivating distinction against the canvas of lush green foliage.
While the color is different, Golden Stargazers maintain the same mesmerizing fragrance that is synonymous with the Stargazer Lily. These lilies infuse a sense of joy and energy into gardens and floral arrangements.
Stargazer Lily Care Requirements
Stargazer Lilies are considered full-sun plants, requiring a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Plant them in a location where they receive the most sunlight possible. An ideal spot would receive morning sunlight and is shielded from intense afternoon heat, especially in hotter climates.
While Stargazer Lilies prefer full sun, they can tolerate some light afternoon shade, particularly in regions with extremely hot and sunny climates. If you're gardening in a warmer area, providing them with a bit of afternoon shade can help prevent the blooms from becoming stressed and prolong their overall health.
If you're growing Stargazer Lilies indoors in pots, place them near a bright and sunny window that receives several hours of direct sunlight daily. As an alternative, artificial grow lights can be employed to supply the required level of light intensity.
It's important to keep the soil around these oriental lily bulbs consistently moist but never soggy. Otherwise, the bulbs will rot. Typically, this equates to 1 inch of water per week, whether that be provided through rainfall or a garden hose.
When watering Lilium Stargazer, soak the soil to a depth of 6 inches, but never water from overhead. This can damage the petals, and beautiful blooms are the point when you're growing cut flowers!
To ensure the well-being of Stargazer Lilies, refrain from excessive watering, as it can prove harmful. Maintaining a harmonious equilibrium between consistent soil moisture and preventing undue dampness is crucial. Regularly assess the soil's moisture content and modify your watering schedule accordingly.
If you're growing Stargazer Lilies in containers, ensure the pots have drainage holes to prevent water accumulation at the bottom. Thoroughly water the plant until excess water drains from the pot's base, and ensure to empty the saucer to prevent any surplus water from being reabsorbed.
Stargazer Lilies are typically hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. This means they can tolerate a range of temperatures, but they may need some protection or special care in colder or hotter zones.
If you live outside of these Hardiness Zones and would still like to enjoy stargazer lilies, consider growing them as potted plants! Then, the pots can be moved indoors as the seasons require. While Stargazer Lilies are hardy, they can be sensitive to late spring frosts. If frost is predicted after your lilies have started to emerge, consider covering them with frost cloth or a protective covering overnight.
Stargazer Lilies prefer cooler temperatures for most of their growth cycle. They thrive in temperatures ranging from 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C) during the day. Cooler nights and moderate daytime temperatures are ideal for healthy growth and sturdy stems and foliage development.
Stargazer Lilies do not tolerate extreme heat well. When temperatures consistently exceed 85°F (29°C) during the day, the blooms may fade more quickly, and the plants may show signs of stress. Providing afternoon shade during hot periods can help protect the plants.
If you're growing Stargazer Lilies indoors or in containers, ensure they are placed in a location with temperatures consistent with their preferences. Avoid positioning them in close proximity to heaters, radiators, or air conditioning vents that might generate extreme temperature variations.
These oriental lilies will grow in any well-drained soil that allows drainage of excess water, preventing waterlogged roots. The soil should have a loose and crumbly texture to promote healthy root growth and allow air circulation. Enhancing its composition involves mitigating dense or compacted soil through the incorporation of organic matter, like compost or thoroughly decomposed manure.
Although they prefer slightly acidic soil, they can grow nearly as well in soils with a neutral pH balance. If your soil is more alkaline, consider amending the soil with an acid-based fertilizer seasonally to help your stargazer lily flowers thrive.
Because of the large flowers of this hybrid of the oriental lily group, stargazer lilies are "heavy feeders." They can extract a significant amount of nutrients from the soil! To support them, you'll need to generously apply a balanced fertilizer in spring after the shoots have emerged from the soil. Avoid applying fertilizer during the later stages of the growing season, as it can disrupt the natural dormancy process.
Opt for a well-balanced, gradual-release fertilizer with nearly equal portions of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), like a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 formulation. Alternatively, you can use a specialized bulb or flower fertilizer that provides the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and flowering.
After each individual bloom has finished, deadhead it. Deadheading involves eliminating withered or faded flowers. This approach not only boosts the plant's visual appeal but also hinders seed formation, redirecting energy toward the growth of new blossoms. This is best done with garden shears so that you don't mistakenly remove any nearby stalks that aren't finished blooming.
After the blooming period is over, and the flower stalks have withered, you can trim them back to the base of the plant. This helps tidy up the appearance and redirects energy to the bulb for storage. Avoid removing healthy green foliage during the growing season. The leaves play a crucial role in photosynthesis, which fuels the plant's growth and energy storage for the following year's blooms.
Propagating Stargazer Lilies is an exciting way to expand your lily collection or share these beautiful flowers with others. While Stargazer Lilies can be propagated through various methods, keep in mind that they may take some time to establish and produce blooms similar to the parent plant. Here are some ways to propagate Stargazer Lilies:
Bulb division stands as the prevalent technique for propagating Stargazer Lilies. This procedure entails dividing the bulbs into smaller segments and replanting them to establish new plants.
- Gently dig up the clump of bulbs, ensuring their preservation and avoiding any harm.
- Separate the bulbs by carefully pulling them apart. Every split should possess healthy roots and shoots.
- Trim any damaged or dead roots.
- Replant the divisions into well-prepared soil at a suitable depth (typically around 6 to 8 inches deep).
Growing Stargazer Lilies from seeds is a longer and more challenging process than bulb division, requiring more patience and care.
- Collect seeds from mature Stargazer Lily seed pods after the blooms have faded and the pods have dried.
- Start the seeds indoors in pots filled with a well-draining potting mix.
- Plant the seeds just beneath the soil surface and keep them consistently moist.
- Provide warmth and light to encourage germination.
- Transplant the seedlings outdoors once they have developed several sets of leaves and are strong enough to withstand outdoor conditions.
How To Plant Stargazer Lily Bulbs
The proper planting time for stargazer lily bulbs is in the early spring. They bloom in the summer, and it's best for them to have one full blooming season before winter temperatures settle in. Don't expect many blooms in the first year or two, however!
Each bulb needs to be planted 6 to 8 inches deep in the soil. The bulbs should be planted at a depth approximately three times their diameter and spaced the bulb 8 to 12 inches apart from each other and any other plants.
Common Problems When Growing Stargazer Lilies
Hybrid lilies are typically immune to pests, and most gardeners will experience no pest problems with their stargazer lilies. However, lilies can get aphids, mealybugs, and lily beetles that feed on foliage and flowers. Be sure to examine your plants regularly for any indications of pests. Employ insecticidal soap or neem oil to manage minor infestations effectively. Handpick larger pests like lily beetles and destroy them.
Botrytis blight and powdery mildew pose potential threats to Stargazer Lilies, particularly in humid environments. To ward off fungal infections, enhance air circulation by appropriately spacing the plants and refraining from overhead watering. Remove infected plant parts promptly. Apply fungicides if necessary, following the manufacturer's instructions.
Yellowing leaves can emerge due to various factors, encompassing nutrient deficiencies, excessive watering, or inadequate drainage. Address the underlying cause by checking the soil moisture, ensuring proper drainage, and providing balanced fertilization.
If your Stargazer Lilies aren't flowering as expected, it could be due to insufficient sunlight, overcrowding, or inadequate nutrients. Ensure the plants receive adequate sunlight, consider dividing crowded clumps, and provide proper fertilization.
Deer and Rodent Damage
Deer, rabbits, and rodents may feed on Stargazer Lilies, causing significant damage to foliage and flowers. Utilize physical barriers such as fencing or netting to shield the plants. Repellents and scent deterrents can also help deter animals.
Wilting or Drooping Leaves
Wilting leaves can result from underwatering, excessively dry soil, or root rot. Thoroughly water the plants when the top inch of soil becomes dry. Make sure the soil has adequate drainage to prevent root rot. Avoid overwatering.
Is Stargazer Lily Pet Friendly?
Stargazer Lilies are not considered pet-friendly, particularly for cats. Every component of the Stargazer Lily, including its leaves, flowers, and pollen, can be toxic to cats if consumed. Ingesting even small amounts of these lilies can lead to severe poisoning, kidney failure, and, in some cases, even death in cats.
If you have cats or other pets in your household, it's important to avoid growing Stargazer Lilies in your garden or bringing them indoors as cut flowers. Instead, opt for pet-safe plants that are not toxic to animals. If you have reason to believe that your pet has consumed any portion of a Stargazer Lily, promptly seek veterinary assistance.