Ah Beautiful Lilies! Flamboyant and elegant I cant imagine my Garden without them! Historically treasured for their perfume and beauty, these Perennial flowers have been a firm favourite in English Gardens for decades! Heres how I grow mine…
First a little Lily History!
This beauty is ancient! The Lilly has weathered many a century and still emerges bolder and brighter than when it began! There are as many as 100 species of Lilies (Liliaceae) and are mostly native to the Northern Hemisphere…North America, Asia and Europe
Pin pointing the exact age of the Lily would be impossiple, but history has some documentation for us!..There are painted images in Crete of the lily flower, dating back to 1580 B.C ! The Minoan civilization considered the Lily the most sacred of all flowers.
We can also look to the Bible, the flower is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments as a symbol of purity and chastity and is associated with the Virgin Mary. It was also symbolic of death and the loss of innocent life- which is why even today, Lilies are the most popular flower of choice at funerals.
The Greeks have there own mythology related to the Lily- It was belived that lilies represented Hera, the wife of Zeus, and the lily was said to have formed from the milk of her breast.
In Roman mythology, Venus the goddess of beauty, was so jealous of the flowers beauty that she caused a huge pistil to grow from its centre just to spite it….Unfortunately for Venus, this did nothing more than add to its lovliness!
The Difference between Oriental Lilies and Asiatic Lilies
Though very similar, Oriental and Asiatic Lilies have a few differences….
Oriental lilies typically have large, highly fragrant white and pink flowers. Asiatic lilies are smaller, come in a wider range of colours, such as Orange, yellow, red and even black! They also lack the fragrance of Oriental Lilies and often have no scent at all.
*Asiatic and Oriental Lilies are both grown from a bulb and may need additional support to hold up their larger than life flowers!
Do Oriental Lilies come back every year?
Yes, Oriental Lilies are perennial plants that will return year after year!
Do Oriental lilies spread?
You bet! Each Bulb is capable of growing new bulbs from the base of the bulb. Lilies also have the wonderful ability to produce something called bulbils which grow in the leaf joints along the stem around late summer to Autumn.
Top Tip: Remove the Bulbils (they look like teeny little bulbs) and plant them in pots, grow them on, and plant them out the following summer. It may take up to 3 years before they develop blooms, but there free!!
When Do Oriental Lilies Bloom?
Oriental Lilies have quite a long blooming period, producing flowers from Mid-Late Summer, right up to Autumn for some varieties!
How Long Will Lilies last In A Vase?
Growing Lilies as a cut flower? Great news! Lilies have quite a long vase life of 7-14 days! Choose stems with buds and cut the stem just before the first set of leaves at a 45 degree angle.
How To Grow Oriental Lilies
First we start with Bulbs!…
How and When to plant Oriental Lily Bulbs
- Oriental Lily Bulbs should be planted ideally during Spring but can be planted any time up to Autumn.
- Plant bulbs 4-6″ inch deep in a full sun/partial shade spot in well drained soil
- Plant in groups for a full flamboyant show!
Can You Grow oriental Lilies in Pots?
Absolutely! In fact Oriental Lilies grow exceptionally well in containers
Should You Cut Back Oriental Lilies after Blooming?
Here’s how I do it…After the lily blooms are spent, cut off the flower heads. BUT, leave the foliage to die back naturally- no tidying up until the very end of the season! This is because the leaves feed the bulb, providing much needed nourishment for next years blooms.
Looking For More Flower Growing Posts?
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- How To Grow Delphiniums
- How to Grow Dahlias
- How To Grow Sweet Pea
- How To Grow Snapdragons
- How To Grow Cosmos
- How To Grow Verbena
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