Home generalMadonna Lily, Lilium candidum - Care and propagation

Madonna Lily, Lilium candidum - Care and propagation

  • Location
  • ground
  • to water
  • Fertilize
  • To cut
  • overwinter
  • multiply
    • Multiply by seeds
    • Increase by bulbous onions
    • Propagation by onion scales
    • plant out
  • The madonna lily in the pot or bucket
  • Diseases and pests
    • Lily beetle
  • frequently asked Questions

The Madonna Lily is considered a symbol of innocence and purity from time immemorial due to its pure white and gracefully shaped funnel flowers. In addition, it is the oldest ornamental plant of this species, which was already popular with the Romans and Greeks. Hobby gardeners plant the noble lily as a highlight in perennial beds or tubs. Read more about care and propagation of this flower beauty.

Not only because of its appearance is the madonna lily (botanical: Lilium candidum ) a popular ornamental plant of hobby gardeners, also because of the gentle, powdery yet beguiling scent of its flowers, it is often used as a cut flower. It was formerly cultivated in peasant and monastery gardens and was considered a symbol of innocence and the Virgin Mary. She can reach a respectable age in a sheltered location or under cultivation in the tub. The perennial onion plant is quite easy to cultivate and is often propagated by so-called bulbs.

Short profile:

  • perennial bulbous plant native to the eastern Mediterranean
  • pure white, funnel-shaped, bewitchingly fragrant flowers with yellow stamens
  • Flowers of several (maximum 20) arranged in a cluster
  • Flowering period June to July
  • Use as a cut flower
  • Blossoms up to 2 weeks in the vase
  • maximum height of growth approx. 130 cm
  • smooth, strong and slightly violet stems that turn green towards the end
  • spirally arranged, shiny, hairless and slightly lanceolate leaves
  • 7 to 9 cm onions
  • Training a down-to-earth rosette in autumn


The Madonna Lily likes a full sun, warm and sheltered location where it can stand for many years. It tolerates a partially shaded spot, but does not produce as many flowers there. The soil at the site should be protected from dehydration. Shadows, drafts, rain and cold wind do not like the Madonna Lily at all. Combined with tall perennials and grasses, which have the same demands on the location and soil, the pretty bulbous plants thrive best - ideally in front of a hedge or house wall.

Prefers sunny location

You can also cultivate Lilium candidum in the tub and pot - with the same site requirements as in the field. In winter, they should then be provided with a frost-proof protection or brought into the house.


The noble plant beauty requires a calcareous, well-drained and rather dry soil, which must never dry out. Even stony soils, which have a loose structure, are often accepted by the Madonna Lily. For example, a combination of dry garden soil, compost, cattle manure or other organic fertilizer that is almost completely rotten, as well as some gravel, sand or lime, is great for improving the existing soil at the selected location.

Always make sure that the water in the garden soil can drain well. If necessary, lay out the planting hole with a suitable drainage during planting and top up with the planting substrate. As drainage suitable gravel or self-collected pebbles, which are often collected parallel to weeding out of the garden beds when they prevail there.

to water

You rarely need to water the Madonna lily, as it gets along well with dryness. Too dry soil is not tolerated. For pouring rainwater or pond water is preferred. Likewise, however, stale tap water can also be used. Waterlogging is always to be avoided!

Bark mulch protects against dehydration

Place a mulch layer on the plant substrate to prevent the garden soil from drying out. The further advantage of a mulch layer is that you need less watering.


For example, well-rotted cattle manure or compost is suitable as the organic fertilizer. If garden soil is used in the planting, which is mixed with compost or manure, then fertilizer must be used again the following year. Once a year, in the spring, the compost or ring dung is well incorporated into the soil. That's enough as fertilizer for the whole year.

If you use liquid fertilizer from the gardening market, it should not contain too much nitrogen. Do not fertilize too often and especially not in autumn, otherwise the plant will continue to bloom and be disturbed in its preparation for the winter season.

To cut

If the flowers of the Madonna lily are withered, they will be removed. However, the leaves are cut off only in the fall, when they are completely yellowed or brown. In this condition, the onion has absorbed and stored all the power of stems and leaves to forcefully exorcise them next spring. Too early truncation would prevent this process. Cut the flower stem close to the ground. Use only clean and sharp pruning shears or knives, because unclean garden tools can carry any pathogens from one madonna lily to another. If all stems are cut off, you can start laying down the winter protection.


Madonna lilies need to be well protected in harsh locations in winter. To do this, the leaf rosettes are covered with a thick layer of leaves, fir-trees or straw. These natural materials protect against cold wind, frost and waterlogging. Leave onions in the ground and do not move them to another location in autumn. Madonna lilies like no changes once they have grown in the garden and have already flowered.


Madonna lilies can be very well propagated by so-called daughter or Brutzwiebeln. Seed or onion scales are also possible. While the propagation by daughter bulbs and onion scales is sorted, sowing also produces altered forms.

flower bud

Multiply by seeds

  • only possible from fruiting varieties of Lilium candidum (often a dark-stemmed form)
  • 1 g of seed contains about 200 seeds
  • Selection of different shapes with special characteristics such as flowering time and size possible
  • Sowing usually takes place in spring or autumn
  • when sowing in the house at 12 ° to 15 ° C, sowing of the seed takes place in early spring
  • Madonna lilies obtained by sowing do not flower until the third or fourth year of culture
  • First plant into the open or in the tub with a stature height of 20 cm
  • August best time to plant

Increase by bulbous onions

Onions or onions do not develop in one and the same location until three to four years have passed. The bulbs of Madonna lilies, which are grown in the tub, can be excavated more easily than those of those that grow in the perennial flowerbed. In August is the right time. If you look closely at the bulbs, you will see the bulbous bulbs growing on them. Carefully separate the small onions with a sharp knife and put them in prepared plant substrate. For growing by means of bulbs, small wooden boxes, pots or bowls are suitable.

Propagation by onion scales

  • Separate onion scales with a small piece of onion soil from the onion
  • put on damp sand
  • Cover with a thin layer of peat moss (also called sphagnum or bleach moss)
  • after some time Adventivknospen form
  • only after another culture year the plants are flowering

plant out

The young onions are planted in August after having taken a little rest. Place the individual onions in the garden soil treated with rotten manure or compost so that the onion tip is approx. 5 cm below the surface of the earth. Depending on the size of the onions, the planting distance should be 30 to 50 cm. Do not forget to cast! Then apply a layer of mulch so that the soil does not dry out. The new leaves will form in September. Abundant leaf formation in autumn is good for flowering the following spring.


The madonna lily in the pot or bucket

If you want to grow Madonna lilies in pots or pots, then you should think of a sufficient drainage in the pot or bucket bottom, so that the excess water can drain off. Likewise, in each vessel at least one vent hole is necessary. Put a piece of pottery on the hole before filling it with a layer of gravel and plant substrate. Pour the Madonna lilies in the tub regularly, but avoid waterlogging. For wintering, it is best to place the tubs in the winter garden or in a bright and cool cellar. The cooler the room is, the less it has to be poured. Lilium candidum can also be grown throughout the year in the house. Then it flowers accordingly earlier and does not require protection against frost in winter.

Diseases and pests

Rotting of bulbs with too much moisture in the soil and voracious lily beetles on the aboveground plant parts are the most common diseases and pests. Once rotted onions are rarely to save. If necessary, you can replace the soil in the bucket by pulling your Madonna lilies in the bucket.

Lily beetle

Lily beetle

There are several effective natural methods of combating the so-called lily beetles (Lilioceris lilii), which can sometimes be confused with the Scarlet Fire Beetle (Pyrochroa coccinena):

The collection of the lily beetle is exhausting, but a very environmentally sound method. It is therefore strenuous, as the beetles fall quickly from the leaves down to the ground, as soon as danger threatens. If the beetles then fall down, you will not recognize them on the dark garden floor so easily because of their camouflage, where they present their black underside. However, if you carefully spread a white foil or piece of cloth on the floor under the lilies, you should be able to spot the beetles.

Every now and then, spray the lilies with the garden hose to rinse off the larvae on the undersides of the leaves. They are even more gluttonous than the adult beetles. Once the larvae are on the ground, they will not find their way back up to the plant. Likewise, the brewing helps in collecting the beetles. Once the beetles are wet, they can not react so quickly and throw themselves to the ground. The collection will be easier for you!

Possible countermeasures

Coffee grounds, seaweed lime and rock flour
Other methods include sprinkling coffee grounds, rock flour or algae lime onto the garden floor, where the lilies grow to spoil the larvae and adult beetles' appetites for lilies. In addition, you can spread dry coffee grounds or rock flour on the leaves.

Plant chives, which the beetles like as much as the lilies around. This gives a good distraction from the lilies and the beetles and their larvae will not nibble more or less often on the lilies.

Settle birds in the garden
Settle songbirds in the garden. Almost all European songbirds kill beetles. Impenetrable hedges and bushes provide the animals with a place to nest. In addition, you can hang nesting boxes.

frequently asked Questions

With which plants can I combine Madonna lilies, so that they come out to best advantage ">

Examples of Plantings

The onions of my Madonna lilies are eaten by voleurs. How can I control the ravenous mice by natural means "> // en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonnen-Lilie (Wikipedia)

  • Mention in the Bible (Link to PDF of the University of Dusseldorf)
  • Tips for quick readers:

    • full sunshine location
    • Partial shade is still tolerated
    • comes in a mixed Staudenbeet good effect
    • calcareous, well-drained garden soil
    • Soil should never dry out
    • Apply mulch layer
    • Avoid waterlogging
    • Gravel or coarse sand as drainage in the planting hole
    • Planting substrate with decomposed compost or cattle manure
    • Planting in pots and pots possible
    • always cut off withered flowers
    • Cut the plant near the ground as soon as the stems and leaves have yellowed
    • In rough locations winter protection of the leaf rosette is necessary
    • Tannenreisig, leaves or straw as winter protection well suited
    • Protect Madonna lilies in the bucket with fleece or burlap in winter
    • are often attacked by lily beetles
    • I do not like putting or repotting
    • Propagation by bulbs, seeds and onion scales possible
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