Posted by Aaron Barton on Jun 26th 2022

June 27, 2022

Lilium (Lily)

With large, bright, often fragrant blooms fit for borders, backdrops, or massed as a stunning centerpiece, lilies make an impact in the garden. True lilies, of the lily family, Liliaceae, generally prefer areas of full sun, but are tolerant of part sun, performing best with good morning sun and some afternoon shade. Lilies thrive in moist, well-drained soil. Wet soils or excessively hot exposures such as near pavement or foundations should be avoided to prevent bulb rot and shattered, short-lived blooms. A wonderful pop of mid-season color, Lilium (LIL-ee-um) bloom time varies by species, with all lilies emerging from hardy perennial bulbs each spring. Commonly planted lilies include fragrant (oriental) lilies, Asiatic lilies, tiger lilies, and their numerous hybrids, among other less common species.

Fragrant (oriental) lilies, Lilium orientalis, native to Korea and Japan, are excellent for providing height, late season color, and intoxicating fragrance. Typically blooming from mid to late summer, oriental lilies generally grow 36-48” tall, occassionally up to 72" tall, forming a grouping 24-36” wide with waxy, lance-like leaves and rigid stems and that benefit from staking or other support to prevent breakage. Their large blooms are exceptionally fragrant, including the staple pink blooms of ‘Stargazer,’ named for its unique upward-facing blooms, as well as the massive double pink and white flowers of ‘Roselily Anouska’ and ‘Roselily Samantha’ among many others.

Asiatic lilies, Lilium asiatica, native to China and Japan, are great for sunny borders, blooming slightly earlier in mid-summer with brightly colored, mildly fragrant blooms. Growing 24-36” tall and forming groupings of 12-24” wide, Asiatic lilies provide a range of color, including cheery yellow blooms of ‘Lily Looks Tiny Bee,’ orange blooms of ‘Lily Looks Tiny Dino,’ and red blooms of ‘Lily Looks Tiny Rocket.’

Tiger lilies, Lilium lancifolium, native to China, Japan, Korea, and Eastern Russia, are abundant, mid to late summer bloomers, providing excellent height and color. Forming small colonies, tiger lilies develop small, black secondary bulbs, called bulbils, at their leaf axils (where the leaf meets the stem). These ripen in late summer, where they can then be harvested and replanted, or can release and plant themselves in the fall. Growing 36-48” tall with thin, strap-like leaves, tiger lilies are typically orange, though there are other beautiful hybrids including pink and red tiger selections. These abundant blooms are speckled and feature dramatically recurved petals, curving back toward the center of the bloom.

Happy Planting (and don’t forget your deer and rabbit repellent)!