How To Force Lilies To Open. A Comprehensive Guide

It’s essential to have additional gardening skills like knowing how to force lilies to open, depending on their form. You may never know when you’ll need to force lilies to open either from bulbs, cut stems, or potted plants. And while it’s always better to let flowers bloom naturally, there will be instances where you have to intervene. 

The greenhouse makes an excellent place to start flowers for spring planting if you can’t do so in their desired time, which is fall. This way, you don’t have to get limited to productivity, even if your outdoor conditions are not optimal. But while you’ve solved this limitation using a greenhouse, you or your buyers might want to get the lilies to bloom at a time that’s not their usual season. 

How To Force Lilies To Open. A Comprehensive Guide

Tips On How To Force Lilies To Open: For Bulbs, Cut Stems, And Potted Plants



Lilies grow from bulbs, and you can plant them in spring but more ideal in early fall. Depending on the cultivars you chose, it may take sooner or longer to open upon from sowing. Generally, you can expect that your flowers will begin blooming in spring throughout the summer. 


How to encourage bulbs to bloom 

How can you help your lily bulbs to bloom? For starters, gardeners recommend using a greenhouse for starting the bulbs. Let them thrive indoors for 60 days so that they can flower more efficiently. 

Afterward, you can encourage the lilies to bloom by cutting the stems in the morning, leaving one-third of the portion. The efficiency of planting the bulbs also affects how likely it is for them to bloom sooner. For example, the ideal growing medium for bulbs is a mixture of peat moss, sand, and garden soil.  

Keep the soil moist and place your container where it will receive sun and temperature of 65 to 70°F to force them to bloom. It should allow the lilies to bloom after eight to ten weeks, but remember to fertilize every two weeks as well.


Cut stems

One of the most popular lilies that gardeners often force to open are cut lilies. One can expect their cut stem lilies to open upon arrival indoors and after being in the water. However, you might want them to open faster, which you can do by cutting an inch up the stem from an angle. 

What this does is that you’re opening new capillaries so that the plant can carry more water upward to force the flower to open. Another great tip is to use lukewarm water for submersion around 75 to 85°F and maintain the container half full. If you want, you can even use a large plastic bag to hover over your lilies. 


How to take care of cut lilies

Once you have encouraged cut lilies to open, you would want to prolong their healthy state. Do this by removing leaves from the stems below the water. Regular changing of the vase will also slow down the growth of bacteria that can damage the lilies. 

Some would recommend using a preservative to the water, but you can also let the chlorine evaporate out of the water to preserve lilies better. For the latter, you can let the water sit in an open container overnight before using it in the vase. And lastly, pinch the anthers covered with pollen on your lilies, so you don’t risk staining them. 


Why should you open the cut lilies yourself?

Opened lilies will have a shorter lifespan, so those who need to use them at a specific period are limited. This is why greenhouse producers of lilies would sell flowers that are in partial budding. And since they aren’t tight buds, timing the blooming of the lilies will also be more comfortable. 


Potted plants

You can also buy lily plants that are in pots and then get them to bloom to yourself. You can keep the lilies in the greenhouse of 70 to 75°F when ready to bloom. A growing light at 16 hours a day from a distance of a foot above the flowers and tenting them just like what you’d do with lily bulbs can encourage blooming. 

Lastly, do all the regular maintenance practices, such as maintaining soil moisture to hasten lilies to bloom. 


Why Are My Lilies Not Opening?

If your lilies are not opening, the temperature might be too cold or too hot for them. Lilies are also sensitive to ethylene gas, so if your cut flowers are close to fruits like apples and bananas or in an area that’s exposed to cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes, that may be the culprit. Additionally, re-cutting the plants is a practice that you do, not only when preparing the lilies, as it encourages the buds to open. 



Different techniques and tricks with plants and flowers are always nice to know for potential usage later on. One of the abilities that you shouldn’t miss out on is how to force lilies to open. You may need to encourage the bulbs, cut stems, or potted lily plants to bloom since getting them right before opening ensures a longer blooming period. 

Overall, you’re just managing the temperatures and helping the lilies drink more water to help their flowers open. If you have trouble blooming lilies, you may check if the temperature is too harsh or they’re close to ethylene gas. 


Leave a Comment