Colorful and fragrant, lilies have always been one of the most popular perennials at our garden center. With a variety of shapes and sizes, it also makes them one of the most popular flowers in the world—for cut flower arrangements and growing in the garden!
Did you know there are over 90 lily species? Wow! We are breaking it down for you and listing the nine divisions of lilies.
Some Basic Lily Facts:
“True Lilies” have six petals and six anthers (the part that contains the pollen). Lilies are available almost in every color. Can you guess what color isn’t represented? You guessed it—BLUE! Many varieties sport variegated patterns, spots, or freckles making them even more desirable.
While lilies are known for their delightful fragrance, there are some varieties that have no scent at all. To organize the lily varieties, botanists classified them into nine different divisions based on their genetics and hybridization history. Categorizing them helps both professional horticulturists and home gardeners know what the flowers of a particular variety of lily look like, when they bloom, and what conditions they will thrive in.
Division 1: Asiatic Hybrid
These are the most popular lilies. They have 3-6 flowers per stem and come in a variety of colors. Unfortunately, they do not have a fragrance and are favored by deer and rabbits. Asiatic Lilies make great cut flowers.
Division 2: Martagon Hybrid (Also known as Turk’s Cap)
These are lilies have small and dainty downward-facing blooms. The stalks can grow quite tall—almost up to 6 feet! Each stem produces a dozen or more blooms in a variety of colors.
Division 3: Candidum Hybrid
This division is famous for the Madonna lily which has a lovely fragrance with white flowers with a yellow base.
Division 4: American Hybrid
These include hybrids of wild lilies fond in North American, for example, the Tiger Lily.
Division 5: Longiflorum Hybrid
Also known as Easter Lilies, these lilies are almost grown and sold exclusively as a holiday plant. Longiflorium lilies are forced to bloom in time for Easter by exposing the bulbs to very precise conditions that initiate their blooms. Their blooms are white with a trumpet shape.
Division 6: Trumpet and Aurelian Hybrids
These hybrids are tall and elegant and boast fragrant flowers with stunning trumpet-shaped flowers. Trumpet lilies come in various shades of colors including white, yellow, orange, pink, and more. They are a popular cut flower because of their sweet fragrance and long-lasting blooms.
Division 7: Oriental Hybrid
Well-known for their large, robust, fragrant flowers, this class of lilies includes Stargazer, Casablanca, and Acapulco lilies.
Division 8: Interdivisional Hybrids
These are hybrids of the previous seven divisions! That’s right, a hybrid of a hybrid.
Division 9: Species
This division is the pure, wild “parents” of the previous 8 hybrids. Wild lilies are the ancestors of all the other classes.
Lilies need a period of cool dormant conditions to promote flowering, so lilies are a great addition to your zone 5 gardens. One of the best lilies for our hardiness zone is the Asiatic Lily because they are extremely hardy!
This article is sponsored by McNamara at Sand Point, which has two acres of production greenhouses, a retail florist and gift shop, as well as a retail garden center and wholesale plant business. Contact McNamara by calling 260-747-4131 or visit 4322 DeForest Ave, Ft. Wayne, IN 46809.
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