Did you know that there is more than one type of lily? This may come as a surprise for beginner gardeners or people who are unfamiliar with the gardening world. But whether you are a novice gardener or an experienced one, it doesn’t matter.
Learning about the many types of lilies and why this type of flower is so fantastic and interesting is undoubtedly exciting. Plus, you don’t have to know much about gardening to know that lilies are known to be incredibly symbolic and extremely popular across the world.
Chances are you have encountered a type of lily at least once in your life – even if you didn’t know it at the time. But don’t worry, if you are a beginner, there is always time to learn about this one-of-a-kind plant. For individuals with a little bit more experience, who knows, maybe there’s still something you haven’t discovered yet.
As mentioned earlier, the lily is considered one of the most symbolic flowering plants in the world, with various cultures having different symbolism attached to it. In both Greek mythology and Christian faith, lilies are known to be the symbol of purity, and when it comes to Christianity, this flower represents Mary’s chastity and the resurrection of Jesus.
Apart from this, other cultures have different meanings for lilies of different colours. For instance, the yellow lily represents joy and health, while the orange one stands for confidence and wealth.
With these flower plants being so full of beauty, meanings, and symbolism, how could you not want to have lilies in your garden?
Generally, lilies thrive in full sun but also tolerate and grow well in part sun. Their bloom time is from fall through summer, with all three seasons being an ideal time for the lily flower to bloom.
When it comes to the soil type, this varies and depends on the type of lily you choose to plant. But more on this later in the article. An interesting feature of this flowering plant is that it attracts butterflies.
So, imagine how wonderful and magical your garden will look with the lily flower in full bloom and colorful butterflies flying around.
Now that you’ve got a brief introduction to this stunning flowering plant, you can discover a brief history before learning about seven different types of lilies.
Keep reading to uncover many interesting facts and fantastic features of the lily plant, as well as a few types of lilies that may inspire you to add to your own garden collection right away!
What To Know About Lilies – A Brief History
You may ask yourself why there are so many different types of lilies. The answer is easier than you think – lilies are the kind of plant that is incredibly easy to propagate. Apart from this, the hybridization process is also one of the most uncomplicated ones, with hybrid lilies appearing all the time.
This makes the Liliaceae family one of the most comprehensive ones, consisting of a multitude of plants. Hence, the lily is known to take many different forms, shapes, colours and various unique features.
But where does the lily come from? Native to North America, Europe and Asia, these beautiful flowers have grown and bloomed in these areas for many centuries. What first started as a wildflower was soon discovered by various civilizations as they formed and extended. Plant collectors began discovering them and bringing them from far away to their native countries. This helped spread and circulate the plant around the world, making it one of the most popular ones nowadays.
This, together with the fact that lilies are easy to propagate and hybridize, has made this flowering plant so prevalent and incredibly popular across the globe. So, no wonder it is so well known and present in so many different continents, countries and cultures.
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What Do You Need to Know If You Grow Lilies?
When you start growing your own flower garden or expanding your houseplant collection, it is of the utmost importance to learn very well what each plant needs to survive and thrive. Depending on the capacity you have to grow plants as well as your experience with gardening, you will have various types of plants and flowers, each with its needs and requirements. So, it isn’t surprising that, if you decide to grow lilies, you must first learn about them and what is necessary for them to grow best.
Plus, because there are so many types of lilies, it is important to become familiar with them and find which lily would suit your garden, taking into consideration the soil you have and whether they will be able to receive full sun, or at least partial shade. Lilies are not able to grow in full shade, so if your garden can only host shade-loving plants and flowers, then, unfortunately, lilies cannot be part of your collection.
Luckily for beginner gardeners, lilies aren’t difficult to grow. So, if the area allows it, you should definitely consider growing a few types of lilies. These flowering plants are undoubtedly show-stealers and head-turners, with their unique blooms in beautiful colours. Not to mention lilies have a distinct and intoxicating yet mesmerizing fragrance.
An essential and noteworthy mention if you want to plant and grow lilies is that because there are so many different types, not all of them bloom simultaneously. So, you should make sure you get the ones that have similar bloom periods. Alternatively, you could purchase lily types with different bloom periods so that you have a summer garden full of lilies for several months.
If you decide growing lilies, here’s what you need to know in terms of caring requirements:
- During the growth period, you should water your lilies thoroughly and make sure the soil doesn’t get dry.
- It is recommended to lay moist mulch on the soil, as this helps the roots remain cool.
- Apart from mulch, experts also advise gardeners to use compost each spring, laid in a thin layer before putting the one of mulch.
- Soil should be kept properly moist at all times. Soggy soil or extremely dry are unacceptable growing conditions for lilies, so well-drained and well taken care of soil is crucial.
- In case you grow tall lilies, you might need to use stakes to support them.
Last but not least, it is essential to point out that deer, rabbits and even groundhogs are attracted to lilies and can easily eat the plant. This is important to know in case there is any risk of these critters coming near your freshly planted lilies or damaging the flower.
Caution! It is very important to mention that lilies are toxic to cats. The flowers, the stems, the pollen, and even the water in the vase are dangerous to cats. Ingesting even a small amount of petals, foliage, or licking some pollen can trigger lethal kidney failure in cats, so be extra careful if you have a feline friend. It is not yet clear why these plants are so toxic to cats, especially since they don’t really affect dogs or other animals.
You can find lily bulbs in many nurseries and plant shops, and there are many different varieties to choose from.
Some of our Favorite Lilies
Now that you’ve learned a bit about lilies and how to take care of them should you decide to grow these wonderful plants – you will surely not regret if you do – it is time to list some of our favourite types of lilies. There are so many hybrids and varieties of this flowering plant that it wouldn’t be possible to list them all, as much as we’d like to. But the following seven types of lilies are enough to paint a picture of how one-of-a-kind these plants are and why they are such a well-known and widely-loved plant around the globe.
1. Martagon Lily
First on the list is a wild lily – Lilium Martagon. Wild lily species are, after all, the first ones, the original lilies without which any of the fabulous hybrids that we get to enjoy today wouldn’t exist. The Martagon lily is known for its violet and light, vivid purple shade with freckles – which sometimes are not present – in darker tones. Another interesting fact about Lilium martagon is that this plant can remain established for many years, making it a popular choice among many gardeners. This one you can grow in light shade without a problem.
Martagon Lilies are profuse bloomers that will amaze you with their numerous blossoms. Martagon lily stems bear an average of 12 to 24 flowers, but they can surprise you with up to 50 flowers. If you want to choose the most prestigious Martagon Lilies, you should go for Lilium Martagon ‘Album’ as this cultivar has won the prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
2. Leopard Lily
Another wild lily species is Lilium Pardalinum, commonly referred to as leopard lily. This beautiful member of the Lily family is native to North America, and it can be found growing from California to Oregon. There is no coincidence it is called “leopard”. The plant blooms flowers of bright yellow-orange colour with scattered contrasting bright red spots on the petals. This is how this lily has earned its name. The leopard lily can grow as much as 6 feet (180 cm). Just imagine how majestic this flowering plant looks at this height and with flowers so strikingly beautiful.
The Leopard Lily thrives in damp areas, so it is a perfect plant for bog gardens and near ponds or streams. It is a fast grower and a big lover of fertile, well-drained soils. In areas with cool summers, the Leopard Lily will grow at its best in full sun. In areas with very harsh summers, it will do best in partial shade.
3. Tiger Lily
Similar to the leopard lily, the tiger lily has also received this name thanks to its appearance resembling a tiger. The official name of the tiger lily is Lilium lancifolium or Lilium tigrinum.
These beautiful ornamentals have orange petals with peachy undertones, which look beautiful in contrast with the dark spots present throughout the petals. This wild lily is native to the Asian continent, but it has become one of the popular lily types around the world, mainly in the USA. Interestingly, the tiger lily doesn’t have perfume, unlike many other lilies, which are known for their powerful fragrance, so if the scent of flowers makes you sneeze, this Lily is a great option.
Another interesting fact about the Tiger Lily is that its bulbs are edible and quite popular in East Asia. Tiger Lily bulbs are quite similar to turnips in terms of flavour and texture and they can be cooked in similar ways as potatoes. The petals of the Tiger Lily are also edible and can be eaten raw in salads. While the Tiger Lily is generally considered a non-toxic plant and most of it is edible to humans, but like all members of the lily family it is very toxic to cats. While these flowers are not usually attractive for our feline friends, you should keep an eye out to avoid unpleasant incidents.
4. Fire Lily
Lilium bulbiferum, commonly known in the gardening world as Fire Lily or Orange Lily is a type of Lily that has its origins in the mountains of southern Europe. The Fire Lily grows natively in many parts of Europe including Spain, Finland, and Ukraine. It thrives in mountain meadows and hillsides, so if you live in a region with a temperate climate, growing this plant in your garden will be very easy.
Perfect for cottage gardens and woodland gardens, the orange-red fire colour of the petals make the Fire Lily a unique and stunning ornamental. It truly resembles the colour of fire. This type of lily is extremely fragrant, so as soon as it blooms in early summer, you will be able to enjoy its perfume.
Fire lilies bloom from mid-spring to mid-summer and grows best when planted in an area that has access to full or partial sun. You can grow these flowers in flower beds, borders, and even in containers.
5. Connecticut King Lily
Next on the list is another stunning lily that deserves our attention, more specifically the Connecticut King lily, which is sometimes referred to as the Asiatic Lily. This ornamental blooms in early summer, usually in June. As for the flowers, these are of a bright golden yellow that looks enchanting with the contrasting bright green of the plant’s foliage. Compared to many other types of lilies, the Connecticut King doesn’t have spots on its petals.
The ‘Connecticut King Lily’ thrives when it is planted in an area that can receive full sun. The Connecticut King lily also accepts partial sun and can grow well when exposed to it. In terms of moisture, this Lily thrives in evenly moist soil and needs to be watered regularly.
6. Casa Blanca Lily
The Casa Blanca Lily is a member of the Oriental Lilies family. The Oriental lilies are incredibly popular lily hybrids that took their parents’ beauty and perfume and made it their own – more impressive in appearance and fragrance. The Casa Blanca lily is precisely this – an impressively lily hybrid with tremendous snow-white flowers and a powerful typical lily scent. Its petals are enormous, and the plant only enjoys – and needs – full sun to thrive. Imagine how absolutely stunning this would look in your garden. Casa Blanca lilies can sure make a powerful statement.
Oriental cultivars, such as the Casa Blanca Lily, are low-maintenance and easy to grow. These beautiful flowers thrive in cooler climates and can adapt to poor soils. They prefer to grow in full sun, but can tolerate part sun, and even part shade. Like most lilies, Casa Blanca lilies need to be watered regularly, but are not fans of boggy conditions.
If you are growing a cutting garden, Casa Blanca lilies are a perfect choice, as they are often used by florists thanks to their long lasting beautiful blooms. A great thing about this lilies is that with proper care, they can bloom within their first year.
7. Forza Red Lily
The LA lily hybrids are among the newest ones, but under no circumstance are these lilies any less captivating and absolutely beautiful. Looking at Lilium Forza Red, you will be immediately mesmerized. This lily’s petals are featured in a deep, dark red with maroon tones– hence the name, “Forza red” – accompanied by a shimmering finish. This plant’s blooms almost appear to be made of velvet. Thanks to its beauty and fragrance, this lily has rapidly become popular among gardeners and florists. So, if you are looking for a striking lily to spruce up your garden, this cultivar is a great option.
What Are True Lilies?
You might be wondering why some very popular lilies such as the Canna Lily or the Day Lily are missing from our list. That’s because although these flowering plants have the word ‘lily’ in their name, they are not members of the Lilium family. The Lily family, Liliaceae, are bulbous perennials. The other plants mentioned above grow from rhizomes or tubers, and each belongs to a different plant genus.
If you weren’t sure whether to include lilies in your garden, there is no doubt that you are starting to consider this step. Lilies are an excellent addition to your garden, and you don’t have to worry if your available space isn’t too large to accommodate some of the more enormous types of lilies. Not all of them are so big, and you can surely find something that suits your garden and your preferences.
One thing is for sure, with such a plant that blooms outstandingly beautiful flowers, your garden’s aesthetic will be immediately enhanced. Plus, lilies are easy to maintain and grow, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to take good care of them.
Please tell us all about your experience with growing lilies in the comments below! We are curious to learn all about the types of lilies you have chosen and how the experience has been for you.