Bulbous rootstock with central growing point covered by concentric layers of scales; no outer covering or skin; perennial; summer-growing; flowers from early to late summer; excellent cut flower.
About 100 species from the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere
Lily flowers are trumpet- shaped, reflexed, cup- shaped or bowl- shaped. All lily flowers have six petals and six anthers. Most are sweetly scented. Species from different parts of the world have been hybridised.Asiatic hybrids are early- flowering lilies derived from species native to Asia. Aurelian hybrids flower mid- season. Oriental lilies have huge open- faced re-curved flowers on stems up to 2,5m tall. Flowering is in midsummer.
By planting small groups of a single variety between shrubs and perennials, “islands” of lilies can produce a stunning effect. Large bulbs should be planted with about 10cm of soil over the top and spaced 20 cm apart. Lilies are also excellent pot plants.Place old, rich manure on top of the soil after planting. Lily bulbs are available to gardeners in autumn and early spring. Plant immediately. Protect against frost. Lilies can be forced to flower at different times. This process is described in the book “The Bulb Book” by Charles Barnhoorn. Lilies are fond of cool soil.
The emerging sprouts of lilies are susceptible to frost damage. Lilies should never be allowed to dry out and should never be waterlogged but should always be in moist soil, summer or winter. Lilies are best left in the same spot for five years or more.If overcrowding occurs, the bulbs should be lifted in autumn or winter, carefully separated and immediately replanted elsewhere.When the stems have turned yellow in autumn, cut them off just above soil level.
Asiatic lilies are early flowering, so will come into bloom closer toward the beginning of summer, from September onward. Their upward-facing, recurved flowers might be unscented, but that will not stop you from enjoying the gorgeous sight of them – especially because of their great flower count. Be careful, however, of their anthers. The pollen growing on these protrusions could stain clothing and furniture, so it’s advised to cut these tips off before placing the flowers in vases. (If some pollen does happen to hit your clothes or couch, use cellotape to remove this as soon as possible.) Also, when cutting your garden lilies to place in your home, only cut the length of stem you need – leaving some stem and leaves on the plant ensures that the bulb is adequately fed for the following season’s blooming period.