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Lilies are known for their remarkable perennial bulbs and dazzling flowers. If you’re looking to bring the power trio of vivid colour, fragrance, and form to your garden, these should be your first stop.
There are almost 100 species and hybrids of these plentiful bulbs that can be enjoyed from the middle of spring right through to late summer. Our Guide to Lily Varieties dives into the 8 hybrid lily varieties.
Asiatic hybrids are bred from several different species of lilies, mainly derived from central and East Asian species. Asiatics make wonderful, long-lasting flowers and are also the most popular lily hybrids in the world because they are easy to grow, multiply rapidly and come in almost every colour imaginable. The petals of these unscented cold-hardy varieties are often spotted, their stems usually grow three to four feet tall, they have three to six flowers per stem and often bloom the earliest of all lily varieties.
The Martagon hybrid lilies are the most unique flowers in terms of shape and size variation of the petal. They feature tall stalks with numerous small blooms that face downward in a particular way, called the “Turk’s cap”. Although they’re found in many striking colours, the deep red varieties are a Martagon trademark. These common lily varieties are early bloomers that grow well up to 50 per stem in cool weather and shade.
Candidum hybrids include most European varieties that are not very easily available. The most significant lily of this species is the Madonna Lily that grows about four feet tall, generally has around six large petals where each stem is said to have up to 20 blossoms. Another salient feature is its long trumpet-like white flower that is slightly recurved.
These hybrids tend to bloom in late spring in warm climates and midsummer in cooler climates. They’re mostly taller growing forms that show off best in dappled shade when grown about five inches in the cool light soil.
These elegant white trumpet-like flowers are commonly known as Easter Lilies since they tend to bloom in tune with the named holiday. They are, however, not particularly hardy in an average garden setting and are mostly seen as plants for cut flowers.
Aurelian hybrids are clustered into the same division as trumpets. They’re similar to Trumpet lilies gradually blend into Aurelian’s as the season progresses. These stunning hybrid lilies are best described as abundant, lush, colourful flowers that are long-lasting and have a very invigorating strong sweet fragrance. Which explains why they’re such a great popular cut flower. They enjoy the full sun; their stem grows up to 4-6 ft and each stalk blooms up to 12-15 others. They are not frost hardy - so, if you decide to grow them during winter, you should grow them in pots or containers indoors.
Oriental lilies are another popular and robust hybrid, after Asiatics that bloom in late summer. Their large flowers tend to be upright-facing with outward-facing petals that grow 3-5 ft tall, which is why they’re often referred to as 'Star Gazers' as they appear to look upwards. However, they’re not among the easiest to grow. They come in shades of pink, purple, red, white and creamy yellow flowers with enchanting heady fragrance, which is why they’re a florist's favourite and also the most admired cut flowers of all times.
This group includes all other Interdivisional Hybrids, or varieties of lilies that are scientifically created by crossing between entirely different species from the above-mentioned divisions, that cannot be hybridized traditionally.