The royal lily belongs to the lily family and to the trumpet lily family and is often referred to as the white lily. It grows from a bulb, the diameter of which can be up to 15 cm. The stems grow erect. The leaves appear first in spring. The fascinating, intensively scented, white and yellowish flowers at the base form between June and July. The elegant flowers reach a size of up to 12 cm. A single royal lily produces between one and eight funnel-shaped, horizontally projecting flowers. These perennials can reach heights of growth between 50 and 180 cm. They come into their own both individually and in groups, and form fascinating contrasts to grasses or other flowering plants.


The royal lily is planted either in spring, from March to May or in autumn. If planted in spring, however, it will not bloom until the following year. First, appropriately sized planting holes are dug. Then the bulbs are planted at a depth that corresponds to 2-3 times the bulb size, ideally in a wire basket. Make sure that the tips of the onions are pointing upwards

The distance between the bulbs should be about 20 cm. Unlike other bulbous plants such as gladioli, royal lily bulbs can remain in the ground all year round. Particularly large specimens should be given a support so that they cannot twist their ankles in the wind.

location and soil

The royal lily makes no special demands on the location. Both partial shade and full sun are tolerated very well. Sun in the morning and little shade in the afternoon is ideal. In addition, the location should be as sheltered from the wind as possible.

The lime-loving royal lily prefers alkaline soils. Any normal garden soil is usually suitable, which should not be too acidic but should be rich in nutrients. It should also be well drained and moist. Heavy, loamy soils can be improved or made more permeable by adding small gravel or sand. The same applies to floors that tend to get very wet. For a better nutrient supply, compost can also be given or mixed in.

watering and fertilizing

The soil should always be evenly moist. Compared to other types of lilies, royal lilies require slightly less water. Waterlogging should be avoided in any case, as well as moistening the leaves when watering. During the growth and flowering phase, it is advisable to add organic liquid fertilizer to the irrigation water every two weeks and give it to the plants.


  • Always remove faded flowers immediately!
  • This does not apply if you need royal lily seeds.
  • The situation is different with the stems or leaves.
  • These must remain standing until they are completely withered.
  • The lily can thus still draw nutrients from the plant for the winter.
  • When the plant has completely withered, it is cut off just above the ground.

Propagation by seed

Can be sown indoors in January/February. For this purpose, the seeds of the royal lily are placed individually in seed trays or other sowing containers at intervals of about 3 cm. The substrate should ideally consist of a peat moss-sand mixture. The seed trays are then placed in a warm place with temperatures around 15 degrees. The seeds will germinate within 2-3 weeks.

If the seedlings are big enough, you can prick them out and continue cultivating them a little cooler. They can then be planted outside after the ice saints. Royal lilies grown from seed can take several years to flower for the first time. Royal lilies can be sown directly outdoors from the end of March to the end of May.

spring onions

The bulbs form at the base of the stalk of the lily and can be easily separated. They are planted twice as deep as they are tall in moist, humus rich soil. The substrate should now be kept moist so that the bulbs can grow into stately plants. It takes up to three years until the first flowering.

onion scales

Royal lilies can also be propagated by separating individual onion scales from the onion. The best time for this is late summer or early fall. Only healthy scales that are as thick as possible should be used.
The bulb is carefully dug up and freed from soil. Then healthy scales are separated or broken out at the bottom of a ripe onion.

The scales or shells are then placed in a plastic bag filled with a peat-sand mixture.
This must then be kept in a dark and warm place at around 21 degrees. It shouldn’t be kept too wet. With a bit of luck, after about three months, small onions will form where the scales break.

Once the first roots have formed, the onions can be carefully planted in small pots. After that, you should keep them in cooler temperatures for about 1-2 months until the first leaves form. After two years at the earliest and seven years at the latest, the first flowers will develop.


Unlike other bulbous plants, royal lily bulbs are hardy and can remain in the ground all year round. In order to ensure harmless hibernation, you should already pay attention to wind-protected locations when choosing a location.

Since the formation of the seeds requires a lot of energy from the plant, which the plant needs to regenerate, the seed heads should be removed immediately after flowering. The stem and leaves must remain until they are completely withered. In this way, the onion can still draw nutrients from the plant that it needs for overwintering.
Waterlogging and dripping moisture should be avoided in winter. Accordingly, rain protection is recommended. To protect the bulbs from severe frosts, you can cover them with compost, leaves or brushwood, but this is not mandatory. However, a cover made of compost, for example, could also provide important nutrients.

Royal lily bulb

  • Onions are about 15 cm in diameter
  • reach a height between 12 and 15 cm
  • ovoid to round and have a strong wine-red color
  • form strong roots at the bottom of the bulb
  • Onions are made up of multiple scales
    • overlap like roof tiles
  • always pay attention to good quality when buying
  • Scales should not be soft but firm
  • already rotten onions should not buy
  • also applies to onions that have already sprouted far or whose roots are partially rotten


The royal lily can be attacked by various fungi, viruses but also pests such as aphids and the lily beetle. The royal lily is also very popular with voles and snails.

There are several fungi that can affect this lily, with the fusarium being probably the most feared. This fungus attacks the bulb and completely hollows it out, eventually dying the plant.

Mushrooms tend to develop where they are planted too close together and as a result there is insufficient air circulation, leaving moisture which is a very good breeding ground for fungi.

Affected plants usually have to be disposed of. Since these fungi sometimes stay in the ground for years, it is advisable to plant the lilies in a different location.

Gray mold rot
Gray mold rot is also caused by a fungus, the botrytis fungus. In contrast to the Fusarium fungus, this fungus attacks the above-ground parts of the plant, both the leaves and stems as well as the flowers, especially in warm, humid weather.
An infestation can be recognized by green or brownish spots on the leaf tips. This fungus can also cause the plant to die, in any case it is weakened by this fungus. Most of the time, however, the plant will sprout again the following year. In order to prevent an infestation, you should also make sure that the planting is not too dense.

You can also spray preventively with a decoction of field horsetail. To do this, the horsetail is boiled in water for about 20 minutes and then poured through a sieve. Boiling is important so that the silica contained in the herb dissolves. When the brew has cooled down, it can be sprayed.

Virus Attack
When infected with a virus, the leaves will be pale, mottled, and wrinkled. These viruses are transmitted by aphids or when the onion divides. Affected plants usually have to be disposed of or, if possible, burned.


The royal lily is attacked only relatively rarely by aphids. These can then be fought relatively easily with rock flour.

Lily fly
The lily fly or its larvae cause great damage to the lily blossoms. The flight time of these animals is from the end of May to the middle of June. Malformed and stunted flowers are a clear sign of an infestation.
Suitable insecticides such as the agent ‘Bi 58’ must be used to combat it. This should then be repeated three times at intervals of seven days. With such agents, the manufacturer’s instructions for use should always be observed.

Lily Beetle A particularly feared pest of the king lily , a very voracious, fiery red beetle. However, its larvae cause the greatest damage by eating both leaves and buds.

You can fight this beetle with various home remedies. This includes, among other things, coffee grounds that are distributed among the plants or soft soap and spirits. A mixture is made from soft soap and alcohol, which is then used to hose down the plants. The whole thing should be repeated several times, especially if it has rained.

It can also be helpful to hose down the infested plant with a stronger jet of water to get rid of the larvae, which then lie on the ground and cannot develop further and die. Dusting the plants with rock flour or algae lime should also help.

Royal lily bulbs, like most other flower bulbs, are a very special treat for voles. In order to protect the onions from rodents, it is advisable to plant a close-meshed wire basket when planting, in which the onions are then placed. This way the voles have no chance of getting to the valuable onions.

Snails are also attracted to these lilies. These then tamper with the leaves of the plant. To combat the slugs, you can collect them regularly or spread organic slug pellets around the lilies.

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