Stargazer lily is relatively new in the lily family but the most popular of all lilies because of its decorative nature and fragrance. Due to their fast growth rate and their blooming season, they even feature as the main flowers in gardens. They’re mostly planted in the back or the middle row of the flower garden and they usually outshine the other flowers with their elegance, size, smell and vibrant colors. And all of these come with a very low maintenance.
Stargazer lilies are one of the most popular types of lilies that come in different colors. It’s a pretty recent entrant into the lily family and is a hybrid between the Asiatic and the Oriental lily. The flower has got its name from its nature of being upright and always facing the sky which is very uncommon in the lily family. However, the reasons for these lilies to rise in demand are their fragrance and exquisite colors that they come with. If you’re thinking about a new gardening project or renovating the existing one, you should definitely opt for stargazer lily.
Stargazer Lily: Variations & Individual Characteristics
These lilies come in different colors and variations, and each variation has its own traits, fragrance and uses. They’re described in details below.
Recognizing Stargazer lily
Stargazer lilies might be different in colors but their tall and upright shape and large flowers give them their unique qualities. Each flower plant produces around six to nine blossoms. The stargazer perfume is its most unique characteristic. The perfume is more powerful than any other flowers in the lily family. The perfume can overwhelm an entire room.
The different varieties/colors of Stargazer Lily that have been gaining popularity among people who love to have lily as part of their home or other decoration projects are characterized below.
Pink stargazer lily is the most popular type of lily. The color may range from dark pink to red. The edges of the pink lilies are white and there are freckles of rose color around the center of blooms.
- The petals’ interior is spotted or patched in colors
- The center of the pink stargazer is light yellow
- The anthers and the pollen are bright orange
- Before bringing in the flower home, it’s suggested that the pollen should be shaken off. It prolongs the blooms
- The flower blossoms from late June to August
- The flower can grow as long as 18-30 inches
- The strong stem of the flower makes it stand up to harsh weather
The pink stargazer lilies are pretty common in people’s garden due to their enduring nature and elegance. But they’re also used in other spheres as well.
- Florists always keep them since they require so little and are high in demand
- Pink stargazer lilies signify aspiration and prosperity
- They’re used as gifts for weddings for wishing the couple well
- They’re also brought into the hospital which symbolizes hope for healing
Nicknamed as “snow princess”, these flowers too blossom as large and showy as its pink counterpart. They’re a summer flower.
- White stargazer lily has a stirring fragrance
- The petals are star-shaped and are pure white in color
- The petals tend to curl towards the tips
- The center of the white stargazer lily is light green in color
- They like full sun
- They can grow up to 3-4 feet
- They give flowers in August
- They don’t have colored patches or lines
White stargazer lilies have varieties of uses and significance in our daily lives.
- White stargaze lily signifies innocence, sympathy and purity
- Also symbolizes transcending barriers of a spiritual kind
- The ideal flower for giving in the 30th wedding anniversary. This symbolizes the couple’s perennial love for each other
- Almost all wedding bouquets contain them
The golden stargazer lily is a hybrid of the Oriental lily and trumpet lily. They’re also traditionally known as Orienpets.
- The blooms of the golden stargazer are deep-yellow colored
- Sometimes they’re covered with red spots
- They have a strong fragrance
- They grow in capacity in full sun and partial shade
- They’re actually yellowish-gold in color
- The anthers of the flower are red and the pollen is reddish to red
The golden stargazer is a relatively less widely used as the pink and the white ones. They’re mostly planted in the gardens as they outpour elegance in any place.
- Symbolize joyfulness and cheerfulness
- The golden stargazer is used on occasions to render the feelings of thankfulness
- On celebratory occasions, the golden stargazer is delivered to wish for a better future and forgiveness from the part of the sender/giver
So, you want to grow Stargazer Lily?
For growing stargazer lilies, you need to buy some stargazer bulbs first. These can be found in the local nurseries or from the online traders. After that, you have to go through an extensive procedure like planting any other plants. The steps are elaborately described in the following section.
What to keep in mind?
The stargazer lily is surely a wonderful addition to the garden, but there are certain things you need to take into account, such as:
- The pollens of lily can stain the things they touch
- Stargazer lilies can cause kidney failure and even death in cats or any other pets for that matter
- Beetles are attracted to stargazers. Make sure to keep them off the flowers or the flowers will be damaged
- Stargazer lilies can attract butterflies and hummingbirds
- Always stay alert for pests and infestation of any kind (especially aphid)
Choosing the time for plantation
The most important thing about growing a plant is when it is being planted. Each plant has its own demands and requirements from nature. Stargazers don’t just grow on any season or under any condition but have their individual specific requirements. But if you’re thinking about growing stargazers, the first thing to take into account is the time you’re choosing to plant them. The optimum season for planting them is either spring or fall.
The ideal time to plant stargazer lilies is the season of fall. This is because the stargazer bulb will then be able to put down its roots before the winter can set in. Fall is also the season when you can reestablish the lilies that are already in your garden. Also, the early fall is the best time for planting stargazers since the weather is still welcoming and heavy rain hasn’t made the soil too wet to work on the plant.
Although fall is the optimum season for planting stargazers, spring can equally be good. If you’ve missed your chance of planting the bulbs in fall due to the weather getting prematurely harsh, keep your bulbs in a cold location in dry straw or sawdust. This way you can preserve the bulbs and can work with them in the early spring. But before planting during spring, check if the soil is workable. If you take a handful of soil and it crumbles, you can plant on it. But if the soil forms a ball or sprays mud when you squeeze it, it’s too wet and you can’t work with it.
Preparing the location
The right location amounts to critical growths in stargazers. Time and location are the two most important things to consider while planting the stargazers. While selecting a location, keep these in mind:
- Choose a suitable location that has minimum 6-8 hours of sunlight
- The soil has to be fertile and as such that can drain well
- Remove the weeds, rocks or any unwanted materials from the selected location
- Make sure the site is wind resistant since otherwise the stems will break
- Cover the dug holes with fertilized soil
- Mulch the soil so as they keep away the weeds or insects
You can also plant your stargazers in containers.
Ways to Use a container to plant the stargazer
With minimal care and time, stargazers can grow in containers perfectly well. Just follow these steps:
- Select a container that has a diameter of at least 6.5 inches
- Choose a pot with a good drainage system
- Don’t use pots that can absorb the moisture from the soil (avoid using earthen pots)
- Fill the container with a soil mixture. Take help from your local gardening center
- The pH of the soil has to be about 6.5-6.9
- Don’t use soils that come with a mixture of super phosphate
- Finally, plant the bulbs at 5-6 inches depth and water regularly
We’ve talked about the suitable location, climate and seasons for planting the stargazer lilies. Now it’s time to go into details about actual planting procedure.
Planting the bulbs
- If you’re working with frozen bulbs, let them come to normal temperature before planting
- Dig holes that are twice or thrice as low as the lily bulbs
- Bulbs of the same group need to be panted at least six inches distant from one another
- The groups of bulbs should have at least two feet of distance between them
- Make sure the location is shaded enough
- Examine the bulbs beforehand for any mushy or withered ones. Discard them
- Check for the scales on the bulbs. During shipping, the scales can get injured. You need to carefully remove/cut the damaged scales
- Before planting, place the bulbs in a cold container for at least 3-4 hours
- Plant the bulbs to a depth of 2½ times of their diameter. This usually means 6-8 inches
- If you’re planting indoors, make sure to keep the temperature between 18-21°C so they can grow
Even if the growing process is going apparently well, you need to make sure you take care of the plant regularly.
Mix the soil with fertilizer when you’re planting the bulbs. You can also use the specified fertilizers for lily bulbs. When they start growing up, follow the fertilization process as pointed below:
- Start fertilizing from the earlier period
- If you use Osmocote fertilizer or compost, you’ll be done with applying it once during the early spring
- If you use a commercial 10-10-10 fertilizer, you need to use it once a month
- Organic compost fertilizer is highly suggested since it can provide a good drainage system in addition to adding organic matter into the soil
- Always spray lots of water after you fertilize each time
Watering the plants
Each plant has its own needs for water and here’s how you should water the stargazer lilies:
- Always touch the soil before watering it to see if the soil is dry or wet. Water until you feel the soil’s wetness in your touch
- Soil that’s saturated with water is not good either. It means you’ve overwatered or the soil has been exposed to too much rain
- Too much water will definitely rot your bulbs, the plants will grow as fragile and become prone to getting attacked by the predators (insects, slugs)
- Always water sparingly
- You can always install a drip irrigation system
- The only reason you’re watering the bulbs is that they need moisture. Leave a hose at the base of the clump of flowers. The water should be very low in force
- Never spray over the plants since it will only damage the blossoms
Allow the required supports
Stargazer lilies usually need support to hold them straight to the ground; otherwise, they may bend and will keep growing in a bent shape. For supporting the plant, here are the things you can do:
- Use stakes to support them. The stakes can be made out of wood or bamboo
- The support of the stakes will also provide protection during heavy rains or storms
- Use raffia or plastic garden tape for tying up the bulbs with the stakes
- You can always make stakes out of the existing materials in your yard
- Stakes will help to make sturdy blossoms
- Don’t use stakes later but start using it from the very onset of plantation
The bulb plants will constantly get attacked by pests like deer, rabbits, voles, aphids, and beetles. There are ways to deal with them, and here they are:
- You can put on a wire fencing
- Spray aphids with water if you see them on either flowers or stems
- You can trap, poison or repel the voles
- The most common problem is the beetles. Just pick them by hands whenever you find them
- Use Neem oil to spray aphids
- Grow deer-resistant plants in the gardens alongside the stargazers
- Grow rabbit-resistant plants alongside the stargazers in the garden
Deadheading and Pruning
Deadheading a plant denotes the act of removing the spent flowers. Deadheading assures more blossoms as the old blossoms only mar the growth of the new ones. This is because the going-to-be-dead plants suck the nutrients off of the plants that could be used in providing nutrients to the lively ones. The way to do the deadheading and pruning:
- Cut the old blossoms from the stems with shears whenever spotted
- Trim the stalk in the late fall
- The stargazers will always resurface due to their perennial quality even if they’re heavily cut down during one season
- When the stargazer is done blooming, cut the blossoms
- Trim the leaves when they’re brown
Removal of pollen stains
Pollen stains is a very common occurrence with the stargazers. These stains generally occur when you’re cutting the lilies or even when you’re just walking past the flowers. The yellow-orange pollen is very persistent when it is wet. Some ways to avoid letting the pollen stain your hands or clothes:
- Pluck the pollen from all of the stamens
- Make sure that the pollen and the petals don’t come into contact by touch
Although you’re being very careful while plucking and your clothes still get stained, follow these steps:
- If the pollen is dry, you can just use the sticky side and pull it off of the fabric
- If the stain is wet, apply stain remover to the pollen and wash normally
Plucking the stargazers is not any different than other flowers but only that you have to remain careful about the pollen staining your clothes. So if you’re planning on cutting off the flowers for occasions or just for yourself, you need to take care of these things:
- Always cut the blooms in the morning as they’re the freshest at that time
- Remove the stamens at the center of the flower, so you keep the pollen from staining your clothes
- The stargazers will last up to two weeks if they’re placed in a container, and the water is maintained daily
Propagation of stargazer lilies
The stargazer lilies are propagated by seeds or bulblets of the plant. Seeds take more than four years to grow and are very different from the parent plant. Bulblets are the offspring of the stargazer lily bulbs. These bulblets produce another lily when they’re planted. But it takes up to several years for bulblets to blossom. You can also clone the parent stargazer lily by using the rooting scales derived from the parent bulb. Some tips that will help you propagating the lilies:
- Select the healthy stargazers for propagation since the offspring will carry the same genetics as the parent
- Cut the scales from the stargazers. Select scales that are stout and portly. Remove the scales with spots or those which are soft or soggy
- Skim the bad scales with fungicides to keep the bulbs and scales infection-free
- Put peat moss and 3-4 lily bulb scales in a resealable plastic bag. Keep the bag in a cool and bright area where the temperature is 65-70°F
- Check the bag for scales after four weeks. Break the bulblets and the scales from each other. Put the scales back in the bag so they can produce more bulbs
- Put potting soil in a container and moisten it. Plant the bulblets in the soil at a depth of one and a half inches
- Keep this container in a warm and bright place. Bulbs will germinate within a few weeks
- It’s time to plant the newly sprouted bulbs in the garden. Plant them at a depth which is thrice the size of the bulb
- Let the plans grow until winter comes when you have to mulch
- Grow the bulbs for a year in the flower bed
- It will take 2-3 years for the bulbs to bloom
Uses of stargazer lily
Stargazers are mainly planted in the garden because they look and smell good. But scientifically, they do a lot more than that. They provide aromatherapy which is apparently a relaxation therapy offered by the smell of the flower. The neurological and chemical responses of our body get severely triggered by our sense of smell. The different predicaments that the stargazer aromas can help us with:
- Calm unrestful minds
- Give us energy from a lethargic mood
- Help us tackle our stress and
- Help with depression and induce a deep sleep
The multiple uses of stargazer lilies will be described in the following sections.
Uses of stargazer in home decoration
The stargazers are visually stimulating. Even in home decoration, these flowers have multiple purposes:
- Adds a positive force to our homes
- All the stargazers (white, pink, golden) stand out brightly in a home
- Many studies have found that the addition of the stargazers help reducing anxiety and depression and provides relaxation, compassion and positive energy
- Adds aroma to the house which is very nerve stimulating
- Guests will always receive a welcoming vibe after entering the house
Uses of stargazer for gifts
As it has already been mentioned in a previous part as to the different colors of stargazer lilies and their significance, this section will only introduce the occasion of gifting the different stargazers:
- You can gift a bouquet of stargazer lilies on different celebratory occasions
- For weddings, a bouquet of white and pink stargazers are admirable
- For birthdays and events like friendship celebration, you can use the golden stargazers
- Even in funerals, the white stargazers come as a great consolation as it adds the aroma to the air that helps with the gloomy atmosphere
Dangers of stargazer lilies
Although known for its beauty, the stargazer lily comes from the family of Liliaceae- a dangerous family of lilies. You have to be very cautious about planting and maintaining it in your garden if you have pets in your house. There are numerous occasions where pets have got seriously sick due to eating one of the plants.
Is the lily really toxic?
The toxic nature of the stargazers can be pretty upsetting, considering how wonderful the flower looks and the aroma it exudes. Cats are the prime target for this intoxication. It’s not harmful in any way for humans or most other animals. But cats show extremely high symptoms when they ingest any part of the plant. As small as a digestion of 1-2 leaves or petals or even the water around the plant or the pollen can severely damage a cat.
Stargazer Lily Poisoning in cats and dogs
If a cat ingests a stargazer or any part of it, it could be as dangerous as being fatal. The cat would start with simple vomiting and this can go as far as having a kidney failure. If you’re aware that your cat has eaten a stargazer, immediately take it to a veterinarian. Or you have to be careful when your cat vomits since there can be fragments of the lily in their vomit. Also, the pollen attached to the cat’s body might be as equally dangerous.
It’s not common that a dog gets poisoned by being exposed to stargazers but some cases support that. However, unlike cats, there has been no death in the dog family due to this poisonous plant. However, dogs can show symptoms of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
Symptoms of poisoning
It’s not difficult for you to connect the dots when you have sick pets in your house and poisonous flower plants in the garden. However, there are specified symptoms of the stargazer poisoning among pets, especially cat, which are:
- Going into hiding
- Having no appetite
- Unusual urination
- Excessive thirst
- Kidney failure
The pet can also die due to this exposure.
The toxin in the flower is still unknown, but it is proven that it has an extremely antagonistic toxin that upsets cats very much. It has been studied by The National Animal Poison Control Center that stargazers cause renal failures in cats.
If you can diagnose the pet at home, you can immediately perform a first aid. To do that, use hydrogen peroxide to induce the pet to vomit. It will eventually empty the stomach, and the toxin won’t spread any further. But you will have to eventually take the pet to the veterinary center where they’ll perform further inspection.
The veterinarian will most likely perform a complete blood count (CBC). Then a urinalysis will be done for evaluating how the kidney is functioning. These are some of the standard treatment methods for the poisoning:
- Fluid therapy for 24 hours that will make the pet urinate excessively, so its kidneys can function properly again
- Induce vomiting so the pet will discharge the remaining strands of lilies from its stomach
- Anti-seizure or antiemetic medication will most likely be prescribed
The stargazer lilies have countless benefits to offer. You may uses it for decorational purposes, and you will get aromatherapy as a bonus. You don’t have to worry yourself about gifts when you have these flowers at your front porch. You can plant it in your garden for elegance, and you’ll get a cheerful and robust fragrance which will lift the spirit of your house. However, be very cautious if you have pets in your home and even if the pets get affected by the flowers, you can always follow the methods described in this article.