It's best to plant Oriental lily bulbs as soon as you buy them.

How to Pre Cool & Store Oriental Lilies

by Melissa Lewis

Sporting large, colorful trumpet-shaped blossoms in summer, Oriental lilies (Lilium orientalis) add an exotic touch to gardens in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 10. They are among bulbs that do not require chilling to grow and bloom well, making them excellent choices in warmer climates. But if you do not plant Oriental lily bulbs immediately after buying them, proper storage is a must. To keep them healthy during storage, keep Oriental lily bulbs cool.

Check the bulbs carefully for soft, discolored or moldy spots. Pack the healthy-looking ones in an open container filled with slightly moist peat moss. Cover the bulbs thoroughly with the peat moss to keep them moist. Discard any rotten bulbs.

Place the container in a cool area that is about 35 degrees Fahrenheit. An unheated garage, attic or spare room might work. If you place the bulbs in the refrigerator, remove any ripening fruit, especially apples, because they give off a gas that is harmful to the bulbs.

Check on the Oriental lily bulbs every one or two weeks and moisten the peat moss if it feels dry. Throw out any bulbs that have started to rot. If the bulbs start to dry out or shrivel, check on them more often to ensure the peat moss is still moist. If the bulbs begin to form roots, it's time to plant them.

Items you will need

  • Open container
  • Peat moss


  • Lily bulbs are toxic to cats.

About the Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Photo Credits

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