8 Beautiful Choices for Your Garden: Explore the World of Lilies

Lilies have long been admired for their stunning beauty and elegance, making them a beloved addition to any summer garden. While some may associate lilies with old-fashioned styles, there is a whole world of modern hybrid varieties waiting to be discovered. These lilies offer an array of colors, fragrance, and style that can complement any type of garden. Join us as we explore eight of the most captivating types of lilies, each deserving of a prominent place in your garden.

The Diversity of Lilies

To truly appreciate the beauty of lilies, it’s important to understand how they are classified. Botanists have divided lilies into nine different divisions based on their genetic makeup, allowing for a better understanding of their appearance, bloom time, and preferred growing conditions. While this information may seem technical, it highlights the incredible range of options available when it comes to the color, height, and other characteristics of lilies.

Within each division, there are numerous subdivisions, resulting in a vast array of lily varieties. However, for simplicity’s sake, we have curated a list that simplifies the complex grouping used by botanists, making it easier for gardeners to navigate and appreciate the diverse world of lilies.

1. Asiatic Lilies: Delicate and Colorful

Asiatic lilies are hybrids derived from several different species. With their petite size and often-spotted petals, these lilies come in a wide range of colors, from vibrant oranges and reds to soft yellows and creamy whites. While they may lack fragrance, Asiatic lilies make up for it with their long-lasting blooms and strong, sturdy stems. These lilies are also well-suited for cut flower arrangements, bringing a touch of elegance to any vase.

Asiatic lily
Though modern hybrids are gaining popularity, Asiatic lilies continue to enchant with their reliability and timeless beauty.

2. Oriental Lilies: Fragrant and Exquisite

Among the most fragrant types of lilies, Oriental lilies emit a captivating perfume that intensifies in the evening. With their broad leaves and large, plate-sized flowers, Oriental lilies are a sight to behold. These lilies come in shades of pink, purplish red, white, and creamy yellow, with some petals displaying intricate spots and elegant recurving shapes. Not only do these lilies add a touch of luxury to any garden, but their flowers also make magnificent cut arrangements.

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Oriental lilies
Oriental lilies stop passersby in their tracks with their intoxicating fragrance and breathtaking beauty.

3. Trumpet Lilies: Spectacular and Fragrant

Also known as Aurelian lilies, trumpet lilies are truly remarkable. Their vibrant and abundantly produced trumpet-shaped blooms are not only highly fragrant but also long-lasting. With their sturdy stems and broad leaves, these lilies make an unforgettable statement. Trumpet lilies exhibit a wide range of colors, including white, yellow, orange, cream, and pink, often with a contrasting star-shaped throat. One popular variety, ‘African Queen,’ can reach impressive heights of up to 8 feet, captivating all with its stunning appearance and unforgettable fragrance.

Trumpet lilies
With their towering height and incredible fragrance, trumpet lilies are sure to make a bold impression in any garden.

4. Orienpet Lilies: Striking and Scented

A fusion of Oriental hybrids and trumpet lilies, Orienpet lilies offer a unique beauty that is hard to resist. These lilies start with a shallow trumpet shape before gracefully opening into broad, outward-facing blooms. Ranging from pink and yellow to red, orange, and white, Orienpet lilies showcase an impressive color palette. Their intoxicating fragrance, combined with their impressive size (6 to 10 inches across) and sturdy stems, makes them an excellent choice for cut flower arrangements.

Orienpet lilies
Orienpet lilies, like the stunning ‘Allysee’ variety, offer an unbeatable combination of fragrance and show-stopping blooms.

5. LA Hybrid Lilies: Bold and Vibrant

Derived from a cross between Asiatic lilies and “Easter-type” lilies, LA hybrids are the showgirls of the lily world. These hybrids boast larger, bolder, and more colorful flowers than their Asiatic counterparts. Available in a wide range of intense colors, LA hybrids are a real standout in any garden. With blooms measuring about 7 inches across and plants growing up to four feet tall, these lilies are perfect for adding a vibrant touch to any landscape.

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LA hybrid lilies
LA hybrid lilies, more colorful and prolific than Asiatic lilies, demand attention and bring an element of fun to any garden.

6. Turk’s Cap Lilies: Adorable and Graceful

Turk’s Cap lilies, also known as martagon lilies, possess a distinct charm that is hard to resist. The recurved petals of these lilies resemble tiny butterflies, delicately hanging from graceful flower stalks. With their tall stems and numerous blooms, Turk’s Cap lilies come in shades of orange, yellow, red, and pink. Some varieties feature spotted petals, while others display solid colors. Most importantly, these lilies exude a fragrant aroma that adds an extra layer of allure to their already captivating presence.

Turk's Cap lilies
Turk’s Cap lilies, like this pink variety, bring a touch of adorable elegance to any garden with their graceful petals.

7. Canada Lilies: Bright and Shade-Tolerant

As a native North American species, Canada lilies offer a distinctly vibrant touch to any garden. With their slightly recurved orange or yellow petals, these lilies can grow between two and four feet tall. Each stem produces whorls of leaves and 5 to 20 nodding blooms, creating a spectacular display. Known for their shade tolerance, Canada lilies thrive in woodland gardens and moist meadows. However, gardeners must be aware that deer and rabbits also appreciate the beauty of these lilies.

Canada lilies
Canada lilies brighten up any garden with their sweet and vibrant blooms, making them an excellent choice for shady areas.

8. Longiflorium Lilies: Classic and Resilient

Longiflorium lilies, commonly known as Easter lilies, are often associated with holiday decorations. These lilies boast trumpet-shaped, outward-facing white flowers that have become a staple of Easter celebrations. Despite their seasonal reputation, Longiflorium lilies are hardy plants that can withstand winter temperatures as low as -20 degrees F. Plant them in your garden after enjoying their blooms indoors, and they will continue to delight you for many seasons to come.

Longiflorium lilies
Longiflorium lilies, such as the classic “Easter” variety, have been enchanting gardens for generations with their timeless beauty.

Bringing Lilies to Your Garden

If you’re eager to introduce these magnificent lilies to your garden, you’ll need to purchase bulbs from a trusted source. While local garden centers may offer a few varieties, online bulb specialty catalogs often provide a broader selection. True lilies, belonging to the genus Lilium, grow from bulbs composed of layered scales. Plant the bulbs in well-draining soil with their tops positioned three inches beneath the surface. Ensure your lilies receive ample sunlight, around 6 to 8 hours a day, to promote straight and tall stems.

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Cultivating Beautiful Lilies

Once your lilies begin to grow, they require minimal care. In the event that they start to lean, use lily supports or stakes for support. After the blooms fade, trim the top third of the plant to prevent seed pod development and preserve energy for next year’s blooms. It’s important to let all types of lilies naturally die back, allowing the leaves to photosynthesize throughout the growing season. In the autumn, after the stalks and leaves have turned brown, cut the plants down to the ground. Consider applying a bulb-specific fertilizer for larger, healthier bulbs that will produce even more glorious blooms.

Lily Growing Locations

Most types of lilies are winter hardy, enduring temperatures as low as -30 degrees F. Some lilies, such as Turk’s Cap and Canadian lilies, can withstand even lower temperatures. However, lilies require a period of cold dormancy to form their blooms, making them less suitable for extremely warm climates. If you are determined to grow lilies in a region with warm winters, you can simulate the necessary dormancy period by refrigerating the bulbs in a plastic bag for 6 to 8 weeks. After this period, plant the bulbs in containers in semi-shady areas and keep your fingers crossed for success.

We hope you enjoyed this exploration of eight extraordinary types of lilies and how to cultivate them. These remarkable flowers are the perfect fit for any garden, adding a touch of elegance, fragrance, and vibrant color. Now it’s time to choose your favorites and embark on your own lily gardening adventure.

For more resources on growing stunning summer blooms, be sure to check out the following articles:

  • Perennials with long bloom times
  • Purple perennials
  • Deer-resistant bulbs for spring bloom
  • Evergreen groundcover choices
  • Flowering perennials that love the shade
  • Ultimate list of plants for cottage gardens

Do you have a favorite variety of lily? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

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