Lilium spp., Lily lil ee um
Lilium spp., Lily
lil – ee – um
Description: Perennial bulbous plants with whorls of narrow leaves on a tall stem topped in spring or summer with beautiful large, open and spreading flowers.
Origin: Lilies originated in three locations: the Middle East and Asia, North America, and Europe. Many of today’s garden lilies are hybrids.
Height x width: 1 to 7 feet tall and 6 to 8 inches wide.
Growth habit: Upright.
Foliage: Crowded, narrow, lance-shaped, 4 to 6 inches long and ½ to ¾ inch wide.
Flowers: Each plant produces one to many large flowers that are usually nodding, open and spreading, in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
Culture: Full sun or partial shade and very well-drained soil. Mulch to keep the root zone cool. Taller varieties may need to be staked.
Pests and problems: Bulb rot in wet soils, botrytis or gray mold on leaves and stems after prolonged rains, lily mosaic virus vectored by aphids.
Uses: Border, single or massed specimen, cut flowers.
Propagation: Division, seed, bulbils.
Asiatic—Derived from a species that originated in Asia.
Usually flower for over a month.
Leaves are smaller than those of the Oriental lilies.
Non-scented flowers are 4 to 6 inches across.
Usually face up, but may face out or down.
The plant is 1 to 3 feet tall.
Shades of red, orange, yellow, pink, lavender and white.
Frequently ‘freckled’ with dark spots.
Four to 8 calyxes (buds) per stem.
Compact growth, 2 to 5 feet high.
Produce roots at the base of the bulb and at the stem just above the bulb, so should be planted 8 to 10 inches deep to allow them to root along the stems.
As a general rule, Asian lilies do well in areas east of the Rocky Mountains.
Oriental—Mostly derived from a wild species (L. auratum) and L. speciosum
Highly-perfumed flowers bloom in late summer (later in the season than most lilies; after Asian lilies) and are up to 1 foot across, 4 or ore calyxes per stem.
Flowers are usually larger than those of the Asian lilies and leaves are wider and more succulent.
Bowl-shaped with recurving petals—outward and down-facing flowers.
Tolerate more soil types than other types of lilies, as long as the soil is well-drained.
Splashy shades of white, pinks, deep reds and bicolors.
Spotted, brushed or edged with contrasting colors.
Grow 2 to 8 feet tall—may need staking due to their size.
Trumpet—Derived from L. longiflorum (Easter Lily).
Martagons—L. Martagon (Martagon Lily or Turk's-Cap Lily).
Produce 2- to 4-inch, pendulous flowers with rolled back (reflexed) petals in early summer.
About 3 feet tall.
Prefer alkaline soils (pH 6.5 to 7.5).
North American Species.
They grow from 4 to 8 feet in height.
Produce their 4- to 6-inch flowers in late spring and early summer.
Not stem rooted; often have stoloniferous or rhizomatous bulbs.
Examples are L. canadense, L. philadelphicum and L. superbum.
Includes species that still grow in the wild and which haven't yet been affected by hybridization.
Many hybrids have been developed from these native species.
Grow better when the soil is amended with leaf litter and peat moss.
Examples are L. candidum, L. bulbiferum, L. martagon and their hybrids.
Require rich soils well amended with organic matter.
As a general rule, these species perform well on the U.S. west coast.