Lilium Varieties or Types

With so many liliums available it is easy to get confused about types, varieties and which one is which. We are particularly fond of species liliums, however it is the other 'hybrid' groups that are probably the most widely grown.

Generally they have been developed to have spectacular flowers and are a little easier to grow. Each to his own, here is our attempt to 'classify' lilium varieties.

Liliums fall into 9 classifications

  1. Asiatic Hybrids
    Perhaps the easiest and most colourful group of liliums although not fragrant. Widely used in floral arrangements. These are the first to flower each spring

  2. Martagon Hybrids
    These are another early flowering group (martagons hansonii hybrids) and they have a classic downward facing flower. Colors from white through to deep red,most often flecked or spotted. Sometimes reluctant to flower after being moved, they are best left undisturbed

  3. Candidium Hybrids
    The rarest type, not widely found in cultivation (Madonna Lily)

  4. American Hybrids
    These are the hybrids from species native to North America such as L parryii, humboldltii, Lilium rubescens,
    Lilium washingtonianum and others. Ballon like flowers.

  5. Longiflorum Hybrids
    The long white trumpet types, hybrids of L.longifolium and L.formosanum

  6. Trumpet and Aurelian Hybrids, tall fragrant and bold. The trumpets are Lilium henryi, Lilium luecanthum, Lilium regale, Lilium sargentiae and Lilium sulphureum. Aurelian Hybrids all have Lilium henryi in their ancestory, plus other trumpets. Aurelian hybrids are L.henryi related

  7. Oriental Hybrids
    Fragrant mid season types with large flowers, best known for 'Tiger Lilies', generally prefer a slightly warmer climate, part shade and moisture when growing.

  8. Miscellaneous Hybrids

  9. Species
    These are all of the varieties of liliums (species) that occur in natural habitats

Tall Growing Lilies

If you have the space and the right soil you to can have lilies that will reach 1.5 tall, some even taller. And we are not talking about those that have been forced to reach for light and have narrow week stems that need extra support.

Cultivars such as Conca d'Or and Leslie Woodriff are two that come to mind. Conca d'Or with its pale yellow flowers will grow tall and strong if planted in a good soil, and also planted fairly deeply. A position where it does not receive strong winds is essential.

And the Dark red creamy edged Leslie Woodriff with its green nectaries is another, fragrant and tall, a real beauty. This is another Orienpet hybrid and was bred by Robert Griesbach

These are two that are worth looking for. Remember that Oriental Lilies require cooler conditions than some. They will flower in early summer, keep moist but not wet, protect from the heat of the afternoon sun, however plenty of light is required for strong growth.

John Allman 

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