There are many flowers that have the word “lily” in their common name, such as the calla lily, toad lily, water lily, butterfly ginger lily, flame lily, nerine lily, and lily of the valley, but true lilies belong to the Lilium family.
For thousands of years, the lily has been a popular ornamental plant, prized for its beautiful, showy flowers that come in a wide variety of colours and forms. Its popularity is evident by the large number of hybrids available.
True lilies are perennial plants with narrow leaves growing along the length of the stems and large trumpet-shaped flowers with 6 petals that grow from scaly bulbs. Many species are native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere.
Plants can grow to be 2-6 feet tall. Flowers come in a wide range of colours, including white, red, orange, yellow, pink and bi-colours. Many of the species are fragrant, especially white lilies.
Needless to say, lilies are popular garden plants. They are showstoppers in the garden, perfect for borders and beds! They can also be grown in containers. The bulbs are usually planted in the fall or spring. Plant in well-drained, loamy soil in full sun. Because lilies do best when their roots are kept cool and moist, plant them next to shrubs or other plants that can give them some shade. It is also a good idea to mulch around the lilies to keep the soil moist and cool. Space them about 1 to 1.5 feet apart. Taller lilies should be staked. Deadhead (remove spent flowers) to encourage new blooms.
Lilies make excellent, long lasting cut flowers, lasting up to 2 weeks. Choose lilies with buds that are just about to open with a bit of colour showing. It is recommended you remove the pollen to avoid staining your clothes and carpet.
Climate Zones: 4-8
Fun Flower Facts about the Lily (Lilium):
- Some lilium bulbs are eaten as root vegetables. Certain species, often sold in dried form, are eaten as luxury or health food in China.
- The Madonna Lily (lilium candidum) have been used in traditional herbal medicine.
- Lily essential oil can be used as a moisturizer, massage oil and hot-oil treatment for hair.
- Lilies are toxic to cats, if ingested.
- White lilies are typically used in funeral arrangements because they symbolize purity, innocence and virtue.
- Orange lilies represent passion.
- Pink Stargazer lilies symbolize wealth and prosperity.
- Lilies (growerdirect.com)
- What’s the Difference Between a Daylily & a Lily? (funflowerfacts.com)
- What’s the Difference Between Asiatic & Oriental Lilies? (funflowerfacts.com)
- The Stargazer Lily (growerdirect.com)