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Don't let the red lily leaf beetle derail your lily-planting plans this spring.

A cluster of trumpet-shaped Oriental lilies are pastel pink with dark pink spots.
urbanglimpses/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Consider adding different varieties of lilies to your gardens this year. Two types grow well in our region and provide color contrasts of both pastel and vibrant hues and heady floral scents.

The trumpet lily left over from Easter celebrations can thrive, especially if you're living in Zone Five areas like the Champlain or lower Connecticut River valleys, if you plant it outdoors.

Wait till May when the weather is a bit warmer then choose a protected spot with well-drained soil and full sun.

Trumpet lilies will bloom in summer and should last a couple of years in your garden.

Two other lily varieties - Oriental lilies and Asiatic lilies - grow quite well in Vermont, too.

The Oriental lily variety grow up three to four feet tall, with flat flowers, usually pastel in color and are known for their knock-your-socks-off, heady fragrance.

Try planting hearty Stargazer or Casa Blanca types in your landscape. These should come back year after year and make great cut flowers.

A variation of the Oriental lily is called, "O.T." or "OrienPet," which is a cross between the Oriental and trumpet lilies.

The O.T. produces a plant that's bigger, has larger flowers, more trumpet-shaped flowers and still has that heady fragrance.

Another type, known as the Asiatic lily, is the earliest bloomer, easy to grow and grow a bit shorter.

These lilies are very hearty and come back year after year and feature upward-facing, brightly colored flowers in orange, red and yellow hues. These make beautiful cut flowers, too.

Something to consider as you choose lilies to add to your landscape is the pest that can thwart your plants.

The red lily leaf beetle can throw a wrench into the works but thankfully, they are fairly easy to control.

This beetles comes around in the spring as soon as the lily shoots come out of the ground.

Then the beetle starts munching on lily leaves. Soon the beetle lays eggs which turn into slug-like masses that also consume all the lily leaves.

Planting some resistant lily varieties is one way to cut the beetle off at the pass.

Types like Madame Butterfly and Black Beauty, which come armed and ready not to succumb to the lily leaf beetle

If you have other lily varieties in your landscape, you can deal with the beetle by spraying them with neem oil and that will kill them.

Another method is to start early in the season, and look for the red beetles on your plants. Once you locate them, drop them in a pail of soapy water.

As the season progresses, check on the underside of the lily leaves for the orange eggs and squish those to rid your plants of the beetle for good.

Q: What bulbs and tubers should I use on an almost completely shaded front porch? It gets early morning sun but then nothing after that. The porch roof intervenes and most of the porch has North exposure. - Priscilla, in Middlebury

A: Summer bulbs and tropical bulbs that you plant now will bloom in the middle to end of summer.

You could plant them into the ground near your porch where there isn't much sun or try to plant them in containers..

Calladiums have beautiful, colorful leaves with no significant flowers so they would do well in shade.

If you use a large container, you can try elephant ears. They won't get too big in a container but it is another nice beautiful foliage plant that does well in a shady spot.

Even calla lilies might do okay, growing without many flowers nice contrasting leaves.

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Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

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Mary Engisch is the host and reporter for Weekend Edition Saturday and Weekend Edition Sunday on VPR.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on VPR. Be part of the fun and send your gardening questions here, for Charlie to answer on the air. Plus, find lots of great gardening tips and information for all seasons here. For more gardening information, check out Charlie's website, Gardening with Charlie Nardozzi. Charlie is a guest on VPR's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.