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Plants of the Lily Family

There are more than 4,000 varieties and 280 genera in the lily family, according to Most lily plants are grasses that begin as bulbs, tubers or rhizomes, and many have showy flowers, ranging from pink-and-white stargazer lilies to bold tulips or hyacinth. As a group, lilies do best in partially shaded areas with moist soil. These plants are generally easy to care for and will add a blast of color to any garden or landscape.


Mostly native to Africa, the aloe plants comes in about 250 species, according to The best-known variety is the aloe vera plant, which has clusters of long, stiff, narrow deep green leaves that are filled with a viscous substance good for treating burns, bites or skin inflammations, according to the 1997 Sunset National Garden Book. Aloe is a succulent, semitropical plant, best suited to USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. These plants require full sun, except in the hottest areas, and require regular watering, though the soil can be left to dry out between waterings.


The common hyacinth grows to 1 foot and has a showy cone of tiny, fragrant flowers in blue, white or purple. The flowers grow along a stalk that grows up from the center of a cluster of narrow, green leaves. Hyacinth can grow in all zones, according to the 1997 Sunset National Garden Handbook, but does thrive in warm-winter areas. These plants require full sun and regular watering.


Day-, Easter, Madonna and stargazer may be the most popular of the more traditional lilies, all of which have a large, showy bloom. Daylilies are available in a variety of colors, Easter lilies are generally white and fragrant, Madonna lilies have fragrant white blooms and stargazers have white blooms with a strip of deep pink down the center and are very fragrant. According to the 1997 Sunset National Garden Book, these types of lilies thrive in loose, well-drained, moist soil and filtered shade. Most lilies will bloom through the summer, though the trumpet-shaped Easter lily is forced in the spring.


Originally from western and central Asia, according to, there are about 5,000 species of tulips, all of which have a single stem with a showy bloom in colors ranging from yellow to red to purple. Tulips, which bloom in the spring, should be planted in full to partial sun and prefer moist soil. These plants can succeed in many climates, but do prefer a winter chill after the bulbs are planted and are popular in the northeast.

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