Lily flowers are quite versatile in flower beds as they bring drama to perennial flower beds, as border plants or container plants. Lilies work equally well in a formal or informal garden. They are also some of the most symbolic: the white lily symbolizes modesty, orange for passion and yellow for gaiety.
Asiatic lilies are one of the earliest blooming of the lily family. Varieties can range from 1 to 6 feet in height and bloom anywhere from late spring to mid summer. They have straight stems with multiple flowers, mostly unscented. Asiatic lily bulbs need to go through a chilling period during the winter. In colder climates this occurs naturally, but in warmer climates, the bulbs have to be dug up and planted in pots that are kept in a cool place where the temperature is about 40 degrees F. Varieties include the orange/brown African queen, the white/apricot Bright Star, the pink/apricot First Love, the gold/wine Golden Splendor, the white/golden Heart’s Desire and the dark rose pink Pink Perfection.
Oriental lilies bloom in late summer, come in a large variety of colors and have a spicy and sweet fragrance. The petals can be spotted, brushed or have a darker shade of the same color, or a contrasting color along the edges. They can grow from dwarf size, 1 to 2 feet in height, to giants at 7 feet. Most Oriental lilies bloom from midsummer through early fall, just when the Asiatic lilies are finishing, with a few that bloom earlier in the season. Varieties include the crimson/white Black Beauty, pure white Casa Blanca, dark pink-spotted Journey’s End, pink-spotted Le Reve, rose pink/dark pink Mona Lisa and rose red/white Stargazer.
Each flower of the daylily only lasts for one day, but each plant has multiple stalks and each stalk has multiple flowers. As one flower dies, another opens and the entire flowering period can last for many weeks. Some varieties will also have multiple flowering periods. Daylilies come in a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes, and bloom from late spring to fall. The flowers can be miniature (under 3 inches in diameter), small (3 to 4 ½ inches in diameter) and large (4 ½ inches and larger in diameter). The plants can be short (from 6 to 24 inches in height), medium (from 24 to 36 inches in height) and tall (from 36 inches in height and higher). Each plant can have anywhere from 10 to 100 buds, depending on the variety. Varieties include Azure Wings, Baba Yaga, Curly Rosy Posy, Daddy Longlegs, Eye Be Darn and Face Dancer.
Turk’s cap, or the martagon lily, is one of the few lilies that can be planted in the shade. The flowers are smaller than with other types, have a waxy appearance and come in mauve, pink, burgundy, yellow-orange, yellow, and white. The petals face downward and can be spotted or freckled. Turk’s cap can reach a height of from 4 to 7 feet. Varieties include the whire album, dark red Claude shride, the orange/gold early bird, the orange/brown marhan and the pink/mauve shantung.
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