Stargazer Lily: Care and Growth Tips
Stargazer lilies are herbaceous perennials. They are also bulbous plants, but – unlike snowdrops, for example – they are summer flowering bulbs, unlike spring bulb plants.
These are hybrid plants. Lilium ‘Stargazer’ is how the taxonomy of plants classifies this flower. The name of the cultivar (the part of the name in single quotes) is sometimes written in two words.
Growing generally up to about 3 feet tall, these tall, slender plants should be spaced about one foot apart.
Stargazer lilies bloom in clusters (with six or more in a cluster, often). The flowering period is usually June or July in my garden area-5. The color of the flower can vary from light pink to darker pink (see photo) or crimson.
The pink flowers are dotted with prominent dark spots, and the flowers have a white border. The ends of the flowers are “reflected” (that is to say they curl towards the stem) and they display long stamens showy.
They are among the most fragrant flowers that can be found in the landscape. With a diameter of 6 inches or more, they are also large flowers.
The dark green leaves are lance-shaped.
Planting Areas, Sun, and Soil
In terms of climate, the recommended planting areas for Stargazer lilies are 4 to 9.
Grow Stargazer lilies in full sun and well-drained, uniformly moist soil. A silt with a slightly acidic soil pH is ideal for the growth of these plants.
Although flowering is best when plants grow in full sun, Stargazer lilies like to keep their roots cool.
You can accomplish this by:
- Grow companion plants around them to cast shade at the base of the plant
- Apply mulch to the base
Exceptional Features of Stargazer Lily, Used in Landscaping
Large enough to be planted in the middle or back of a flowerbed, Stargazer lily plants can serve as a focal point, as they draw the viewer’s attention with their large, brightly colored flowers.
As high as they are, they do not usually require staking. For all their beauty, I could still choose their wonderful smell as their most remarkable feature if I were forced to choose a single quality.
Stargazers also make good cut flowers, which partly explains why so many florists wear them. When used in floral arrangements, they usually occupy a central place, as few flowers are bright enough to compete with them. For a relatively recently introduced hybrid (i.e., the 1970s), the degree to which they have become a reference in the floral world is remarkable.
Asian vs. Oriental
Stargazer lilies are classified as Oriental lilies. Some farmers ask themselves, “What is the difference between the Oriental type and the Asian type?” In general, Orientals have more fragrant flowers, are larger and flower a little later (although, for an oriental type, Stargazers flower early enough).
Like Easter lily and unlike Stella de Oro, they are real lilies, not daylilies. That is, if you check the name of the genre, it’s Lilium. Some plants called “lilies” but that are not in the genus, Lilium belong at least to the family lily, like the trout lily.
Others, however, have no family ties, such as canna lilies.
It is quite easy to distinguish the real lilies from the impostors. A true lily sends a single stem of unbranched flower from an underground bulb; the stem is surrounded all along its surface by the short leaves of the plant. In contrast, the flower stems of Daylily have no leaves and are often multi-branched.
The leaves grow straight out of the ground and are longer than the leaves of real lilies. In addition, the plant emerges from a tuberous root system, not a bulb.
Stargazer Lily Care
Plant Stargazer water lily bulbs in the spring or fall. Plant the bulbs 6 inches deep.
Fertilize Stargazer lily plants from early spring to bloom. If you use slow-release Osmocote fertilizer or compost, you can get all of your fertilizer all at once in the early spring.
If instead, you choose to apply a typical commercial full fertilizer (10-10-10, for example), it is recommended to fertilize once a month.
An additional benefit of fertilizing with compost is that by mixing organic matter in the soil, you will promote the water retention that these plants need while maintaining good drainage.
Have you decided to use some of your Stargazer lilies as cut flowers? Then remove the anthers from the stamens leaving the middle of the flower to prolong the duration of flowering and eliminate stains (anthers contain yellow pollen, which can be messy).
Dispose of each flower after flowering (by making the incision on the small stem that separates the flower from the rest of the plant). In this case, the purpose of the lethal head is to prevent the formation of pods, which would consume only energy that would otherwise be found in the bulbs (which is a better use for this energy).
As with all bulb plants, the most important advice to remember about their care is to let the plants continue to rise after flowering, as long as they are green. Once the foliage becomes completely brown, you can cut them to the ground – but not before.
Divide the bulbs in autumn if you wish to propagate them. See my book review of Caring for Perennial Plants if you are looking for help to become more proficient in perennial care.
Bonus, Warning Among Growing Stargazer Lilies
Toxic plants for cats, Stargazer lilies can cause vomiting or even death if ingested, so keep your feline pets away from them.
But as a bonus, these are plants that attract butterflies and are also excellent plants for hummingbirds.
Voles, deer, rabbits, beetles, and aphids are among the pests that infest these bulbs. Here are some ways to treat these parasites:
- Voles can be trapped, poisoned or repulsed.
- In many cases, the best way to solve a deer problem is to grow deer-resistant plants.
- Also, check out this list of rabbit-proof flowers if you have rabbits that eat your plants.
- Beetles may be the most common problem. Choose them by hand each time you find them.
- Spray the aphids with Neem oil.
Origin of the Name
Here’s a light bulb with a hobby: stargazing. Well, not exactly. But the rather whimsical cultivar name has a base of fact. You see, while the different types of oriental lilies usually bear flowers that face down, Stargazer lily flowers face up as if staring at them.