June 27, 2022
With large, bright, often fragrant blooms fit for borders, backdrops, or planted as a stunning centerpiece, lilies make a statement in the garden . True lilies, of the lily family, Liliaceae, generally prefer areas of full sun, though tolerant of part sun, and thrive in moist, well-drained soil. 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 Oriental lilies, Asiatic lilies, tiger lilies, and their numerous hybrids.
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, forming a grouping 18-24” 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 18-36” tall and forming groupings of 18-24” 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 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)!