Skip to Content

Why Is My Oriental Lily Dying?

Oriental lilies are popular and beautiful flowers in gardens. This can be very troubling when a lily is having problems and looks like it's at death's door. You may wonder why your flower is possibly dying, and if so, what can be done? We did some research and have some helpful answers for you.

If you think your Oriental lily is dying, the following reasons are the likely culprit.

  1. Too much direct sunlight exposure
  2. Too much water
  3. Poor quality soil
  4. Fungus
  5. Root Rot
  6. Pests
  7. Viruses

A garden of healthy, gorgeous flowers is a proud accomplishment. When flowers like Oriental lilies are becoming sick, weak, and fading away, it's time to jump into action. Keep reading to learn helpful tips to ensure Oriental lilies thrive and how to deal with any problems.

Gorgeous Oriental Lilies, Why Is My Oriental Lily Dying?

Caring For An Oriental Lily

Oriental lilies are a hybrid that is loved for their large blooms and strong fragrance. These flowers make an excellent addition to any garden, as they have a stately presence. The flowers come in shades of orange, red, yellow, pink, white, and variegated colors. The 'Stargazer' is one of the most popular forms of this type of lily, as they are easy to grow and love full sunlight.

2 star gazer oriental lilies with 2 pods in garden

If you want to enjoy viewing healthy, elegant Oriental lilies, it's important to watch out for issues that can cause health problems. Pests, soil with poor drainage or the wrong pH level, and disease can cause this flower to die. Let's check out common issues that can shorten the Oriental lily's lifespan and destroy its natural beauty.

1. Overexposure to Direct Sunlight

wonderful blue sky with glowing sun and clouds

The Oriental lily loves exposure to full sun and does well in zones 3 through 8. However, this flower is not heat tolerant and cannot handle direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Keep in mind that lilies love their flowers in the sun and the stems and roots in the shade.

However, maintaining a balance of light and dark is imperative. Although lilies like receiving 6 to 8 hours of sunlight and can grow in partial shade, too much shade can cause the flower to topple over and become spindly.

When growing this flower in a warmer zone, provide some shade, offset dry soil conditions with adequate watering, and protect against extreme heat and sun exposure. Too much exposure to direct sunlight can cause scorch on the leaves and bloom and lead to a flower drying up and eventually dying. 

2. Overwatering

When temperatures rise, a concerned gardener may want to give their Oriental lily more water. But it's important to exercise caution and not overwater this flower. Lilies grown in pots indoors are susceptible to developing root rot due to overwatering and poor drainage. The bulb can rot, and the lower leaves of a developed plant may droop and turn yellow.

A plant that has too much water

When hot water arrives, resist the urge to overwater the flowers and provide some protection from the sun and heat. The soil should be moist and not soggy for lilies to stay healthy and happy. Keep a layer of 5 to 6 inches of mulch to help the soil retain moisture and water bulbs with 1 inch of water each week.

3. Poor Soil

a plowed field, fertile, black soil

The soil for an Oriental lily should be well-draining, slightly acidic with a pH of 6.5 to 7, and kept moist, not sopping wet. When soil is poor in quality, too alkaline or acidic, and doesn't drain well, it can lead to problems.

Planting bulbs on a slope or in a raised bed help improve drainage issues. However, if your soil is sandy or clay, improve the quality before adding flowers. These flowers thrive in rich soil that has compost added.

Check out this meter for measuring soil pH and moisture on Amazon.

4. Fungus

There are two types of fungus that attack lilies. Basal rot and Botrytis are both very destructive to this plant. Botrytis is caused by B. elliptica or B. cinerea. Seed pods, leaves, and blooms will get ravaged by these fungi in cool summer weather and the autumn. White spots on the leaves are a telltale sign. Overall, Botrytis affects the surface of the flowers, stems, leaves and spreads to other plants.

Basal rot is very heartbreaking because it cannot be controlled or fixed. When this fungus sets in, it causes leaves to turn yellow, stunts growth, and the stem dries out. This fungus usually destroys the mother bulb, and there may not be any root growth. The fungi fusarium oxysporum causes basal rot, and it is typically in soil that is very moist and has a high temperature.

Use healthy bulbs and apply sprays to prevent problems. If there are any infected bulbs or signs of disease, discard any damaged plant material and grow nothing in the contaminated soil.

5. Root Rot

When fungi attack the bulbs, roots, and stems of the Oriental lily, the leaves and flowers succumb soon after. The following fungi can all trigger root rot.

  • Pythium
  • Phytophthora
  • Cylindrocarpon
  • Rhizoctonia

Keeping the soil moist and at proper temperatures is one way to reduce the risk of root rot.

6. Pests

a scarlet lily beetle

Insects and animals often wreak havoc on plants, and they do not spare Oriental lilies. The following pests can be a problem for the flower:

  • Rabbits
  • Aphids
  • Mites
  • Red Lily Beetle
  • Leatherjackets
  • Deer

Depending on what's nibbling away at your lilies, or causing irreparable damage, seek an appropriate solution.

7. Viruses

One of the leading causes of disease in the Oriental lily is because of aphids. When aphids infest lilies, they rapidly spread and transmit viruses to the flower. The plants become debilitated and develop distorted stems, twisted foliage, and damaged flower buds. Applying pesticides can help deter aphids.

Check out this spray for aphids on Amazon.

Why Are My Oriental Lilies Turning Brown?

The withered lily

There are a few reasons Oriental lilies are turning brown. First, too little or too much water can cause the leaves to turn brown and eventually fall off. Another problem is too much fertilizer in the soil. Applying fertilizer often can cause a buildup of excess salts in the soil. The salt in the soil will cause an Oriental lily to dry out, turn brown, and eventually perish.

When plants cannot take in adequate nutrients from the soil or aren't receiving enough water, they will likely turn brown and die without intervention. Ensure that soil is balanced, well-draining and flowers get enough water and nutrients.

Why Are My Oriental Lily Leaves Turning Yellow?

When an Oriental lily has leaves changing from green to yellow, it can be upsetting. Overwatering is usually the reason leaves turn yellow. However, scorch, stress, and viruses can also cause yellowing foliage. 

What Is Causing My Lilies To Wilt and Die?

Tiger lily garden in morning sun

If lilies are wilting away and dying, it could be because of overexposure to hot, direct sunlight, a virus, fungus, or pests. Remember, it's crucial to maintain well-draining soil of good quality and avoid overwatering.

Why Is My Potted Oriental Lily Dying?

The most likely reason for a potted Oriental lily dying is poor drainage. A flower's container should allow for adequate air circulation and not let water sit and cause root rot or contribute to fungus growth.

Also, it's important to provide a balance of sunlight and shade for the lily. Too much shade or extreme heat and direct sun can cause the plant to wither and die. Be careful about indoor temperatures so the lily isn't too cold or too hot. Stress, pests, and a poor environment can also lead to premature death.

Final Thoughts

Gorgeous Oriental Lilies

We hope you leave knowing how to better care for an Oriental lily, especially if it's struggling because of the soil quality, disease, or pests. Flowers can be pretty sensitive to their environment, so providing an optimal growing environment and quickly treating health problems is essential.

If you enjoyed reading this article, check out the following related posts.

When To Transplant Asiatic Lilies

My Peace Lily Is Dying – What To Do?