How to Germinate Lilies




Sorry, some of the photos aren't mine because I started this process last year and

didn't know I'd be doing an Instructable. The photos are only to aid in the


Lilies are perennials that grow from a bulb. But you can force a lily to grow a

seed pod filled with up to 100 seeds you can plant and have a whole bed of

beautiful lilies. It's really not a difficult thing to accomplish. So let's help

out the bees and start pollinating!

First, you need to know the anatomy of a lily. You can see all the reproductive

parts of the flower in the picture. The main parts you need to recognize for this

is the anthers which hold the pollen, and the stigma which is where you're going

to put the pollen.

Step 1: Tools

You need to start off with 2 healthy lilies like the ones shown below. They should

already be established and disease free. Also a pair of regular old tweezers, a

butter knife or similar, a pencil, a 1" square of tin foil, some vermiculite (can

be purchased at Home Depot, Lowes, Garden Center, Walmart etc.) and a plastic zip

lock bag.

Step 2: Decide Who's Who

Decide which flower is going to be the mommy and which is the daddy. You will use

the pollen from the anthers on the daddy to pollenate the stigma of the mommy.

Hopefully it will catch and you will grow a seed pod!

Step 3: Pollination

Very carefully with a pair of tweezers, pull an anther off of the dad flower.

Scrape off some of the pollen onto the stigma. The stigma should have some sticky

clear nectar coming out of it to help the pollen stick.

Step 4: Protect the Momma

Mold the foil over the eraser of the pencil so you have a little foil cup. Place

the cup over the stigma. This step helps to insure the pollen you have placed

there won't blow away or be carried off by an insect. It also helps the stigma to

be free of contamination or other pollens entering. You can leave the foil on for

the rest of the season, it will not hurt or effect the growth cycle.

Step 5: Pluck the Pod

After the season is done and the petals have fallen off, you'll notice a second

growth. It will kind of look like a deformed bud. The first time, I thought it was

a second flower growing but it was the seed pod. Leave the pod on until the end of

the summer so the seeds get as much nutrients as possible. When the pod is ripe

pick it off the flower and bring it in the house. Very carefully open the pod and

extract all the seeds and put them into a labeled paper bag or envelope. Put them

away in a safe place until next spring. :-( I know, waiting is hard but it will be

spring again before you know it.

Step 6: Start the Process

Miraculously it's spring again! Take out your seeds, vermiculite, and zip lock

bag. Put a few handfuls of the vermiculite into the bag and moisten it. Take care

not to put too much water. It should be like if you wet a sponge and squeezed all

the water out. Not dry, but not exactly wet. Throw the seeds in there and zip it

up. Place in a warm dry place preferably with some sun light and check on them every day for sprouts.

Step 7: Plant the Sprouts

When your seeds have sprouted, and after the last frost, take each one and plant

it the way you would any other new plant. The sprout should be above ground to get

light so the bulb can start growing. It would be a good idea to add compost to the

area for extra nutrients. You don't want to fertilize this year they're too


Step 8: Enjoy!

Enjoy your beautiful, FREE lillies.



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    14 Discussions


    Question 9 months ago

    I received a flower arrangement for my birthday and I was wondering if it is possible to germinate/reproduce the lilies that are cut? A few of them just opened up and the stamen and carpels look really healthy, is it possible to get a new plant from these?


    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    Can I do this from cut lily I purchased from the grocery stores. Will this produce seeds if I follow these steps?


    2 years ago

    So don't put the seeds in the refrigerator for the winter? Just leave them in a regular bag in storage?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    It is this easy for Asiatic lilies, but Oriental lilies have to have some stratification.


    4 years ago

    Great introduction!!!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    The diagram of Lilium floral parts is almost correct. Exceptions are:

    • --- in Lilium, the six "petals" (collectively called tepals) are actually three petals and three sepals. The diagram shows two petals and one sepal.

    • --- no Lilium has sepals (or any other botanical structure) that immediately subtend the receptacle.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I love this! Very helpful. The first photo with the parts of the flowers is really great. I am always trying to look up this kind of info on things that I plant.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Ok, I got the pictures in. This is my first Instructable, so I hope it's clear and you guys like it! Good luck in your lily growing! I might also be doing another instructable in this contest so be on the look out. Pleas vote for me if you like it! Thanks for looking.

    6 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    well the process takes a year, i didn't realize a year ago that I'd be making an instructable.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    the only picture I can take right now are of my lilies which are growing but haven't bloomed yet. They are a early to mid summer bloom. If I did take pictures it would not add any assistance to this instructable.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    It would be good to drop one into step 7, as it would show your plants, rather than some picture which was easy to pick up from Google images and almost certainly isn't of lilies sprouting.