Featured Bloom: Lily (Lilium)

Typically grown from bulbs, lilies are an eye-catching summer bloomer that can add a burst of colour to any garden.  Showy flowers emerge in a variety of colours, including orange, red, yellow, purple, and white, and often have striping or spotting.  Most lilies grow to a height of 30 to 120 cm but some species can reach heights of 2.0 to 2.5 m.  Flowers generally feature six vibrant tepals, and come in an array of sizes and shapes, including bell, bowl, cup, flat, funnel, and trumpet shapes.  Some lilies are fragrant while others have no noticeable scent.   

Lilies belong to the Liliaceae family, and numerous hybrids have been created.  Hybrid lilies have been classified into eight divisions (Division 1- Asiatic Hybrids, Division 2- Martagon Hybrids, Division 3- Candidum Hybrids, Division 4- American Hybrids, Division 5- Longiflorum Hybrids, Division 6- Trumpet and Aurelian Hybrids, Division 7- Oriental Hybrids, Division 8- Other Hybrids) which are based on parentage, habit, and flower type.

Generally, hybrid lilies grow best in well-drained soil that is high in organic matter, in full sun to part shade.  Lilies will thrive in a location that offers cool shade for the roots and full sun for the upper parts of the plant.  Whether they are planted in a home garden, or grown in a container, lilies will add a lively punch of colour to any area.  Potential problems for lilies include botrytis, lily mosaic virus, bulb rot, and red lily beetle.

Lily species and hybrids can be found throughout RBG’s property, with the most spectacular show being in the Lilium Collection at Hendrie Park.