Lilies bring floral pizazz to the summer garden but when selecting ones in pots don’t go straight for the tall varieties that need staking; consider more compact plants instead. They'll stand up to summer winds more effectively, making them useful for exposed or coastal gardens.
Although you can plant lily bulbs in autumn, they can be planted anytime up to April. They like a rich, moist, but well-drained soil so use a loam-based compost such as John Innes No 2 or 3. If it's too heavy add additional horticultural grit for drainage and ericaceous soil-less compost or leaf mould to raise the amount of organic matter. Plant three bulbs per 25cm (10in) pot or five to six in a 40cm (1¼ft) pot, positioning them at a depth of twice the height of the bulb. Keep plants moist, but not wet, and feed fortnightly with a high potash fertiliser when flower buds start to appear throughout summer.
Look out for lily beetle, which strip off leaves if not tackled when first seen. Pick off the shiny red adults as soon as they appear in spring and squish any red-coloured egg masses clustered beneath foliage, along with leaf chomping nymphs. You can spray with organic insecticides such as Ecofective Bug Killer, which will need a number of applications, or use Westland Resolva Pest Killer.