How To Care For Lilies Indoors ( In 9 Easy Steps )

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Lilies can be grown relatively easily indoors especially if you live outside the hardiness zone of the lilies which you want to grow. Although you can grow any kind of lilies indoors, but growing them successfully is another matter. Lilies face different challenges when grown indoors, the good news is that they will be relatively safe from most pests, the bad news is that it could take a while until your lilies actually flower indoors.

To take care of indoor lilies you have to place them next to a window with full sun and plant them in a clay or terracotta pot. One of the most common reasons why lilies tend to die indoors is due to overwatering, so make sure to only water when the topsoil is dry. Periodically turn the lily pot around, this way the lilies will grow on all sides equally. Once the lilies have started to flower make sure to remove the pollen as it produces a strong fragrance and tends to stain everything.

If this is the first time you are growing lilies indoors then make sure to get the biggest bulbs possible. The bigger the bulb is the higher the chances are that it will flower in the first year. Make sure that the bulb is not damaged and they do not smell of rot. If they have a rotting smell then they will definitely rot every other bulb in the pot so throw them out.

Lilies tend to be relatively hardy plants, they do have a couple of diseases and pests that stunt their growth but if you are growing them indoors it will be extremely easy to keep an eye on them. Once the plant is mature enough you can even plant the indoor lilies outside, just make sure to provide them with some shade for the first couple of months. If you want to plant your indoor lilies outside then check out my recent article Can I Plant A Potted Lily Outside? ( In 6 Easy Steps ).

How To Care For Lilies Indoors

To care for lilies indoors, start by placing them in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Lilies prefer cooler temperatures, so keep them away from direct heat sources. Water the plant thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry, but avoid overwatering as lilies don’t like sitting in soggy soil. It’s important to provide good drainage for the plant by using a well-draining potting mix. Fertilize the lilies every two to four weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to support healthy growth and blooming. Remove any spent flowers or yellowing leaves to promote new growth. Lilies appreciate high humidity, so misting the leaves occasionally or placing the pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water can help increase humidity levels.

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Place The Indoor Lilies Next To A Window That Gets Full Sun

Lilies tend to prefer growing in full sun conditions, although they can also grow in partial shade but how well they will grow depends on your geographic location. If you are in the southern parts of the US then you can place the lilies next to a window that only gets partial shade. On the other hand, if you live in the northern parts of the US then your lilies will grow better if you place them next to a full sun window.

The best part about growing lilies indoors is that you can always reposition the pot. If you notice that the lilies are starting to get leggy, then this is a good sign that the plant is trying to reach for more light and you should reposition it in an area where it gets more direct sunlight. If you want to grow Stargazer Lilies in pots then check out my recent article How To Grow Stargazer Lilies In Pots ( In 7 Easy Steps ).

Use Only Clay Pots

Most people will say that the type of pot you use for the lilies indoors doesn’t really matter, the truth is that choosing the wrong kind of pot will stunt the growth of the plant significantly. Lily bulbs are prone to rot, and this is what usually kills them. Ideally, you should use either a clay or a terracotta pot, as these will allow air to circulate in the pot thus reducing the chance of bulb and root rot.

Make sure that the pot actually has drainage holes, the more the better. When it comes to the size of the pot you should use a wide pot rather than a tall one as lilies tend to have shallow roots. The more bulbs you want to plant the wider the pot should be. If you want more information on how to care for potted lilies then check out my recent article How To Care For Potted Lilies ( In 7 Easy Steps ).

Potting Mix For Indoor Lilies

There are a lot of potting mixes on the market, and some of them are specially designed for lilies. Honestly speaking it doesn’t really matter what kind of potting mix you use, as long as it is well-draining and it doesn’t have any pesticides. Having some perlite in the mix is also a good idea although not necessary for smaller pots. A balanced potting mix is fine for indoor lilies, no need to overcomplicate things.

Water The Lilies Indoors Only If the Topsoil Is Dry

One of the most common reasons why lilies tend to die indoors is due to overwatering. You do not have to water your indoor lilies every day as you do with your outdoor lilies. The evaporation indoors is a lot slower than the evaporation is outside. Generally speaking, you will notice that some kind of mold is forming on the topsoil if you water too frequently, at this point your lilies will bounce back if you water them less frequently and the mold will also disappear.

In addition to this, you should also water the lilies from the top, rather than from the bottom, this way the bulbs have an easier time absorbing the water.

Use Companion Plants

Lilies tend to grow tall rather than wide, so there will be plenty of room for shorter plants like petunias for example. These plants will not compete for the nutrients with the lilies as long as you fertilize them, but the added benefit is that you will have a longer flowering pot until the lilies actually flower. Annuals tend to be the best companion plants for indoor lilies, and the shorter they grow the better the pot will look.

Turn The Potted Lily Around From Time To Time

If you leave the indoor lilies in the same position you will notice that most of the growth will happen on the side which gets direct or partial sun. While at first, it may look alright but after a couple of months, the pot will look half empty. Turning the pot from time to time is especially important if you want the lily flowers to face towards your dining room for example. Simply turn the pot once a week, around a 90-degree turn is ideal.

If you turn the pot 180 degrees then the stem of the lily plant will become wavy. On the other hand, you can always just turn your pot around once you have company to show it off and then just turn it back to its original position.


It is extremely important to fertilize the indoor lilies, most potting mixes do not have enough nutrients to support large lily bulbs for a very long time. You should use a slow-release fertilizer in the winter and a fast-release fertilizer during the summer. Fertilizing in the summer is the most important as this is the time when the lilies need a lot of nutrients in order to flower. My suggestion is to use a foliar fertilizer once every two weeks during the summer.


You will have to do some maintenance once the lilies have started to flower. Most importantly you should deadhead spent or damaged flowers, this way the plant will produce even more flowers. If your indoor lilies have not flowered in the first year then don’t worry they will flower in the second year. It is extremely important not to let the lilies produce seed heads, as these take a lot of nutrients to produce.

Reduce The Lily Scent Indoors

Once the lilies are flowering you will notice a particular lily fragrance in your entire home. While at first, this can be extremely pleasant but after a while, the fragrance can be simply too strong and it might even cause headaches. To reduce the scent of the lilies simply remove the pollen from the flowers as these are the ones that are actually producing the fragrance. Do note that lilies tend to be more fragrant during the nighttime, so if you are having trouble sleeping since your lilies have flowered indoors then this might be the issue.

The pollen sack should also be removed if are allergic to pollen, as the pollen will stick to everything, and with just a couple of flowers the entire house will be stained by pollen.

Key Takeaways

  • To take care of lilies indoors make sure to place them next to a well lit window, grow them in clay pots, use high quality potting mix, and only watering them if the top inch of the soil is dry.
  • It can take a couple of years until the lilies in pots will be able to flower.
  • Make sure to deadhead spent or damaged flowers, this way the plant will produce more flowers.