The lilium genus (my personal favorite) is a large one containing some of the most beautiful bulbous plants that exist. There are approximately 80-90 species of lilies. In addition to the true species lilies, numerous hybrids and different cultivars have been developed over the years.
Most of the newer hybrid lilies are generally much easier to grow than the species. The great thing about the lilium genus being so large is that it contains enough different varieties that you have lots of planting choices such as color, height, blooming time, fragrances ect.
Lilies make fine specimen plants or can be added to your beds, borders, containers or perennial gardens for great contrast and effects. They look stunning whether planted in groups or individually as specimen plants. They are also very useful for naturalizing.
The flowers vary but most are usually from 6-9 inches, and present to us a great variety of form and colors from which to choose. Some flowers are borne horizontally, some are pendulous and a few are erect.
Shapes can be anything from the regular trumpet shape, bowl or star-shaped, to the turks-cap, with their petals recurved and their stamens and stigma projecting.
Lilies prefer a location where the soil stays moist and cool at all times, mulching them will help meet these requirements. If possible choose a nice sunny site where the bases of the plants will remain shaded by companion plants, and be protected from strong winds.
The soil must be well-drained, as they will not survive in water-logged soil. Ideally the soil should be worked at least 1 foot deep and generous amounts of organic matter should be added like: peat moss, compost, leaf mould or well rotted manure. They (lilies) are well worth the effort.
An alternative to poor drainage areas is planting your bulbs in raised beds. Also note that most newer varieties do quite nicely in pots, tubs and or outdoor planters.
Bulbs should be set in the ground with the base of the bulb 3 times as deep as the bulb is high. So a 2" tall bulb would be planted 6" deep, and a 3" tall bulb plant 9" deep.
CULTURE / CARE
- SUN OR PARTIAL SHADE
- MUST BE WELL-DRAINED SOIL
- HEIGHTS VARY FROM 1-7 FEET TALL
- PREFERS PARTIAL SHADE IN HOTTEST AREAS
- TALLER VARIETIES NEED STAKING
- FERTILIZE WHEN GROWTH EMERGES IN SPRING
- ONCE PLANTED BULBS SHOULD BE LEFT ALONE
- DIG OR DIVIDE ONLY WHEN NECESSARY