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Lily, or lilium, are summer-flowering bulbs famous for their elegant and exotic-looking flowers. They grow well in containers and make a great addition to flower beds, especially when planted in a big group in various colours. Their flowers make them a stand-out plant in any garden style, from modern and formal to cottage and traditional gardens.

Lilies can be divided into many groups, but the most widely known are Asiatic and Oriental hybrids. The flowers come in nodding, upright and trumpet forms. Asiatic hybrids are easy to grow but are unscented. On the other hand, Oriental hybrids are bold, colourful, and highly scented but require acidic soil to grow.

They are available in a dazzling array of colours, from white and pink to red, yellow, and orange and the petals often have markings like spots or brush strokes.

Rose-petal-salad-2

Lily plants come in a range of sizes, from dwarf and pixie varieties for ground cover to tree lilies that can get up to 2m high. Many have a sweet, powerful fragrance, especially the Oriental and Longiflorum hybrids.

Mix them into beds and borders to add height to structure to planting schemes and complement bushier plants.

How to grow lilies

Lavender-sprigs-in-lemon-drink

It’s easier to grow lilies than people think! They are usually frost hardy and will return year after year. They need full sunlight and well-drained soil – the bulbs will rot in stagnant water. Also, they dislike clay soils, so grow them in pots if your soil is particularly heavy.

Lilies are hungry plants, so prepare the soil with added organic material like compost. Then, feed with a high potassium liquid fertiliser like tomato feed every two weeks as soon as they come into flower and keep going after flowering to help the bulbs grow for next year.

Plant the bulbs three times their own depth, spaced 15cm apart, or 5cm apart in containers. Pots should be deep to allow the roots to spread. Bear in mind, the bulbs are delicate and easily damaged, therefore they don’t like being transplanted.

Deadhead the flowers but leave the foliage intact to send nutrients back down the bulb. Apply top dressing of compost in the autumn and turn pots on their side or move them into the shed or garage to stop soil getting waterlogged.

White out

Lilium longiflorum (trumpet lily) is sometimes called the Easter lily, hails from Japan and grows to 1m tall. Each stem bears several trumpet-shaped flowers with bright yellow stamen that make great cut flowers.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK
  • Grows up to 1m tall
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered
Lavender-sprigs-in-lemon-drink

Lilium ‘Sterling Star’ is a traditional-looking variety with a star-shaped petal formation and strong red stamen. The petals have small red speckles towards the centre and the foliage is a deep green. Plant it in groups of three for a striking display.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows up to 1.2m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
Lavender-sprigs-in-lemon-drink

Fiery tones

Lilium ‘Connecticut King’ is a striking, star-shaped lily with butter-yellow petals. Asiatic lilies flower earlier than Orientals, and this one makes great cut flowers.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows up to 1m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
Lavender-sprigs-in-lemon-drink

Try a Turk’s Cap variety with the Lilium martagon ‘Orange Marmalade’. Its stems bear multiple nodding flowers whose glossy leaves curl back on themselves. It will grow to 1m high and looks great in a wild cottage garden.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 1m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
Lavender-sprigs-in-lemon-drink

Rich red

Lilium ‘Sumatra’ is an oriental hybrid with strong stems that grows to 120cm tall. Its flowers are a rich red with white, crinkled edges and speckled petals. It has the bold colours of an Asiatic and the sweet fragrance of an Oriental.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 1m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
Lavender-sprigs-in-lemon-drink

Give growing lilies a go with these tips for planting and care. Your garden can be full of beautiful blooms with the trumpet-shaped exotic flowers that will bring elegance to the space.

Spring is here, see my post on spring pollinators:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

spring pollinators
Spring pollinators
Pinterest
Pinterest Board


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