Information on the Lily Plant


Lilies fill a garden with graceful, perennial beauty. True lily plants increase in bloom over the years, rewarding gardeners with new plants to fill the garden and bulbs to share with others.


Lilies are herbaceous perennial plants that grow from bulbs. The species lilium has more than 100 varieties. Lilies have single stems from which bloom multiple flowers in a wide range of colors in trumpet, open or recurved forms.


Lilies are divided into eight divisions by the North American Lily Society determined by growth habits, flower shapes and origins. Wild members of the family native to the United States include the wood, Turk's cap and tiger lilies.

Lilies in Name Only

Some lilies borrow the name to describe growth characteristics or just because the term is a very old name for a lovely flower, but they are not true lilies. These flowers include day lilies, calla lilies and water lilies.


Many of today's garden lilies originated in China, but members of the family are native to Asia, Europe and North America. Today, lilies grow in gardens from Alaska the tropics.


Garden lilies are easy to grow and long-lived in areas where the variety is hardy enough to survive winters. Given slightly acidic soil that drains easily and slow-release nutrients like those found in compost, they should thrive for years.


  • North American Lily Society
  • University of Minnesota Extension
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Who Can Help

  • National Gardening Association
  • Easter Lilies
  • Water Lilies
Keywords: lilies, lily plants, perennial, garden, bulbs

About this Author

Chicago native Laura Reynolds has been writing for 40 years. She attended American University (D.C.), Northern Illinois University and University of Illinois Chicago and has a B.S. in communications (theater). Originally a secondary school communications and history teacher, she's written one book and edited several others. She has 30 years of experience as a local official, including service as a municipal judge.