Lilies are one of the most gorgeous and graceful summer-blooming flowers. Lilies belong to the Lilium genus which contains more than 100 species. Lilies offer a vast variety of sizes, colors and shapes, and are commonly available all across the globe, particularly in the northern hemisphere.
Lilies are thought to be the oldest cultivated ornamental flowers, having existed in gardens 3000 years ago. The lily became the symbol of chastity and virtue with the advance of Christianity. The Easter lily symbolizes Virgin Mary.
Lily and Flower Language:
Lily is symbolically used to express purity and refined beauty. However, different colors and types can convey different meanings. For example, white lily symbolizes modesty and virginity, orange lily symbolizes passion, yellow lily symbolizes gaiety, lily of the valley symbolizes sweetness and purity of heart.
Popularity of Lily:
The imperial beauty and the distinct variety that can symbolize very special expressions make Lily the most popular flowers for gifting purposes. In fact, Lilies are ranked as the fourth most popular flowers in the world, while the second most popular flowers in the UK. Stargazer and Cassablanca lily bouquets and lily bulbs as well as potted lily plants are popular floral gifts.
What are True Lilies?
There are many types of flowers which are considered as “Lilies”. However, many of them, for example day lily, water lily, arum lily actually belong to other flowering plants groups. True Lilies feature fleshy scales without protective outer coating, and they are never dormant.
Varieties in Lily:
Lily offers a vast variety of flowers, amongst which only groups like Asiatics and Orientals are the most popular and widely grown flowers. Asiatic Lilies feature small flowers, a wide array of colors, and light fragrance, while Oriental Lilies offer large flowers with only a few colors having strong fragrance. Another type is the Longiflorum hybrid Lilies that features large funnel shaped flowers, usually white, having strong sweet scent.
Lilies can be grown from seeds; however they will take a longer time (may be five to six years) to bloom. This is why bulbs are much preferred to grow Lilies. Lilies are usually planted in the garden during fall or spring season. They can also be grown in containers. A cool, porous and well drained soil is essentially required for their good growth. Adding excessive organic matter will improve clay or sandy soils that would be considered as future investment for good bed preparation which will result in the bulbs that will stay in place for several years. During summer, Lilies enjoy direct sun all morning with partial shade during hot afternoon hours.
Daily watering is not required. However, while watering, be sure to water deeply enough to reach the bulb. During the growing season, add a balanced fertilizer every few weeks, but avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers. Remove seedpods when they appear, and also eliminate stems and foliage when leaves become yellow. Remove mulch during late fall season. Removing fade blossoms is good not only to keep Lilies blooming, but also to prevent plant from consuming its energy in seed production.