Everyone loves lilies. With large, showy blooms, lilies add striking elegance to the yard and garden from early to midsummer. Grown from bulbs, lilies are perennial flowers that will return year after year and require minimal care, provided that you plant them in the right place.
Lilies have six plain or strikingly marked tepals (“petals”) and are often trumpet-shaped, sitting atop a tall, erect stem with narrow, long, lance-shaped leaves. They come in many beautiful colors, including pink, gold, red, orange, and white.
Asiatic and Oriental lilies are the most popular garden lily varieties. Asiatic lilies bloom first in early summer (in June), right after peonies. They are not fussy as long as they are grown in well-draining soil. They are the shortest type of lily (about 2 to 3 feet tall) and come in many colors, from pastel to tropical. They don’t have much of a fragrance, but they do add bright color to the garden. It’s the Oriental lilies that have that famously strong fragrance. They are tall and stately (4 feet), and tend to grow more slowly, often blooming about the time when Asiatic lily flowers are fading (mid- to late-summer).
What are “True Lilies”?
True lilies grow from bulbs and are of the genus Lilium. Daylilies (Hemerocallis), despite having “lilies” in their name, are not true lilies. Daylilies have many leaves that grow from a crown, whereas true lilies generally have only one stem or shoot that grows from the bulb. Similarly, peace lilies, canna lilies, and calla lilies are not true lilies. Learn more about “true” lilies.
When do Lilies Bloom?
Lilies tend to bloom from early summer to fall, depending on the type. By carefully blending early, mid-season, and late varieties into your garden, you will enjoy their magnificent blooms from spring through first frost. At home in both formal and naturalistic settings, most lilies also take readily to containers. Plus, they make great cut flowers!
Asiatic lilies come in a range of bright, beautiful colors.