Lily Problems

Lily Problems
SymptomProbable Cause
Iron Deficiency; WaterloggingLeaves Turn Yellow
Leaves Curled And DistortedAphids
Leaves Mottled; Flowers MalformedMosaic Virus
Bulbs Gnawed; Unearthed Or EatenMice; Moles; Deer

Iron Deficiency; Waterlogging,Leaves Turn Yellow
If the soil is very wet or poor in iron, lily leaves turn yellow. Move clumps to better-drained soil or water the plants with an iron supplement such as Sequestrene.

Leaves Mottled; Flowers Malformed,Mosaic Virus
The tobacco mosaic virus and other viruses are transmitted to lilies by aphids. The first symptom is usually a yellow spotty discoloration ("mottling", or "mosaic") of the leaves. Later the flowers become malformed and eventually the plant dies. It is suspected that most lilies carry these viruses in a latent form, but that some lily varieties are more liable to an outright attack than others. There is no cure, and infected bulbs must be removed. Virus outbreaks may be prevented by controlling aphids, keeping weeds down, and sterilizing tools used for cutting the flowers in water with household bleach added.

Bulbs Gnawed; Unearthed Or Eaten --Mice; Moles; Deer
Especially during the winter months, small rodents and deer will eat lily bulbs. Moles tunnel through beds in search of earthworms and insects, but mice also use their tunnels to get at the bulbs. Use barriers to protect lily bulbs. Line planting holes with small baskets of 1/4-inch hardware cloth cut to fit. Or, try planting individual bulbs in tin can "sleeves" cut open at both ends and sunk into the soil so that the top rim is just covered by soil. Set bulbs near the bottom of the can to allow the roots to spread into the soil beneath. You can also try repelling mice, voles or deer by dusting the bulb clumps with sulfur or thiram fungicide before planting.

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