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The Meaning of Oriental Lilies

oriental lily anthers image by Janet Wall from

Although there are several varieties of lilies, the general symbol of the lily flower represents purity of heart, sweetness and virtue, while maintaining an everlasting, exuberant presence within gardens and floral arrangements. Oriental lilies are available year-round and because of their strong symbolism of beauty, innocence and wealth, they have been widely used as floral bouquets for weddings as well as congratulatory gifts.

Origin of the Oriental Lily

Oriental lilies have interestingly been cultivated for a longer period of time than most plants from around the world and are native to the lily species of Korea and Japan. They have been found in gardens for more than 3,000 years, growing up to 6 feet tall. Although horticulturalists have been breeding various hybrids of this flower, its original physical form consists of three blooms on each stem with an average flower length of about 20 inches. Due to their relatively large size, rich color and pleasing smell, Oriental lilies have been a long-time favorite of many plant and flower enthusiasts.

Symbolic Meaning

The Oriental lily represents the "universal symbol of beauty," while expressing an air of wealth and decadence. Other meanings associated with this flower include purity and innocence.

Use of Oriental Lilies

Due to the Oriental lily’s sweet and pleasing smell, the extract from the flower has been used to make perfumes for many centuries. Oriental lilies have also been used in facial creams and various cosmetics because it is believed that these flowers help in slowing the skin's aging process. In addition, mixing the petals of an Oriental lily with honey has been known to soften skin.

Popularity of Oriental Lilies

Since part of the meaning of this flower symbolizes wealth, it has become popular for congratulatory gifts for those who have found their dream job or have been recently promoted. Also, it has been commonly used in weddings considering that it also symbolizes beauty and purity.

Caring for Oriental Lilies

Oriental lilies can be grown in a flower pot in your home, as long as they are placed in an area that receives generous ventilation and bright, indirect sunlight. They need to be watered only when the soil feels completely dry to the touch and should not be placed near air conditioners or heaters. When cutting off the stems from the flower, be sure to cut only one third of the stem. Cutting any further will permanently damage the flower and consequently lead to its death.


Oriental lilies are not suitable for homeowners who have cats. Since cats are curious and playful animals, they might try to chew and ingest parts of the flower, which may lead to harmful or fatal consequences for your pet.

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