Tall Perennials: Types of Lilies

Lilies, while quite beautiful and delicate, are easy to grow. Lilies are flowering perennial plants that grow from bulbs or rhizomes that spread underground. Wild lilies are found in all of the continents of the northern hemisphere. Lilies generally prefer partially shaded areas and neutral to acidic soils.

With over a hundred wild species and more than 9000 named hybrids, it's easy to be confused by the many types of lilies. Lilies are broken down into nine groups called divisions based on their parent species. From that long and complex list, several types of lilies have emerged as landscaping favorites.

Asiatic Lilies (Asiatic Hybrids) zones 4 to 9
Asiatic lilies feature neat, vertical growth and upward-facing blooms. The long lasting flowers of this plant appear in early to mid-summer. Asiatic lilies grow 18 to 36 inches tall and prefer full sun to partial shade.

Trumpet Lilies (Lilium regale, Lilium aurelianse) zones 5 to 9
Trumpet lilies are considered "classic" lilies with large, trumpet shaped flowers. Blooming in mid to late summer, trumpet lilies produce fragrant, waxy flowers on plants that can reach up to six feet tall.

Tiger Lilies (Lilium lancifolium) zones 3 to 9
Very hardy, Tiger lilies will multiply freely in the garden. Tiger lily flowers feature colorful spots and freckles with petals that curve backward. A dozen or so warm colored flower will form on each stem over the growing season. Tiger lilies grow 36 to 48 inches tall.

Rubrum Lilies (Lilium speciosum var. rubrum) zones 4 to 9
Rubrum lilies have the same balloon-shaped flowers as tiger lilies, but feature blooms with cooler colors (think white to deep pink). Blooming in mid to late summer, rubrum lilies offer fragrant flowers on 3 to 4 foot plants.

Oriental Lilies (Oriental Hybrids) zones 4 to 8
Oriental lilies can be difficult to grow in hot summer areas, but provide enormous blooms. These late season bloomers can produce flowers up to 10 inches wide. Oriental lilies are known for there intense fragrance and come in colors from white through deep crimson.

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