The viability of `Avignon' and `Esther' (Asiatic hybrids), `Star Gazer' (Oriental hybrid), and `Snow Queen' lily bulb scales (L. longiflorum Thunb.) was determined after storage at –2C for 0.5, 1.5, and 2.5 years. Ion leakage, the percentage of scales that formed bulblets, and the number and weight of these bulblets were determined on scales from the inner, middle, and outer part of bulbs. During storage, the outer scales of all cultivars and the inner and middle scales of `Snow Queen' showed increased ion leakage accompanied by a decreased ability to form scale bulblets during storage. Concurrently, the percentage of scales forming bulblets declined, and more and smaller scale bulblets were formed per regenerative scale. Thus, ion leakage is a useful criterion to measure viability of lily scales.