Types of Lilies


Types of Lilies Transcript

Today we’re going to talk about Lilies. There are a lot of flowers that have "lily" in the common name (like daylilies, waterlilies and toad lilies) but true Lilies come from a bulb and they are in the genus Lilium.

Lily flowers may be trumpet-shaped, bowl shaped, or bell shaped with recurved petals. They may nod downward, they may face out and upward. They do come in a wide variety of colors and many are fragrant. Let’s do a quick overview of the many types of Lilies, so you can decide which Lilies are best for your garden. We’re going to classify them in the order of bloom, so we’re going to start with Asiatics, which are some of the earliest to bloom and are also some of the hardiest.

You’ll have to look a long time to find a more vigorous group of plants. They are early-blooming -- usually June to July here in Connecticut. The blooms have a lot of different flower forms, but they generally face upward, which makes them very colorful. Their height is anywhere from 3–4′ and they have little to no fragrance. But the straight stems and heavy bud make of them superb cut flowers.

Next to bloom are the Species Lilies. They carry their flowers on candelabra-like stems and are generally more tolerant of shade. Some examples are the Madonna Lily, the Easter Lily, and one of our favorites, the Martagon Lilies. Martagons are little Turk’s Cap Lilies which produce as many as 50 flowers per stem. They’re very slow to propagate and they’re hard to find, so you’re lucky if you have them in your garden. They don’t like to be disturbed once planted, so choose your site carefully. They like cool feet and mulch them in the summer.

Continuing the bloom in mid-July are the LA Hybrids. It’s a cross between an Easter Lily and an Asiatic Lily. They have large, almost 7” trumpet-shaped blooms. The flowers face outward which makes them very colorful, although they have little to no fragrance. They are very hardy, all the way to zone 3. They make great cut flowers and have a longer blooming life than other Lilies.

Late July and early August bring the Trumpet and Aurelian Lilies. They’re beautiful flowers on long graceful stems and they can grow anywhere from 2-6’ tall. The flower stalks can have up to 15 blooms. They are very fragrant and are hardy to zone 4.

The last to bloom are the Oriental Lilies, that are wildly popular for their intoxicating fragrance. They have tall stems, they can be up to 6’ tall, and the blooms are huge -- maybe 8” across.

Orienpets are crosses between Oriental and Trumpet Lilies. It really combines the best of both parents. A huge, fragrant flower that’s a little stronger and faces upward. The plants can grow tall, and their blossoms become more intense in cooler weather.

Let’s recap the sequence of bloom, starting in early to mid-summer with colorful Asiatics. Then the Martagons and other Species, followed in mid summer by the LA Hybrids. Late summer brings the flourish of the three tall fragrant groups: Trumpets, Orienpets and Orientals. Hybridizers are working on new crosses between all the species of Lilies, so who knows what the future holds for flower form and color. For more information on Lilies, go to our website.