Mid to late summer is the time Lilies begin to grace gardens in Ohio. These regal and beautiful flowers are often extremely fragrant and can grow four to ten feet tall. The lily bulb is usually planted in the fall, but can also be planted in early spring. There are several different kinds of Lilies, but all of them hold a special place in the garden.
Asiatic Lilies are probably the easiest to grow. They are the type of Lilies often sold at big box stores in the spring. They come in a rainbow of colors and grow three to four feet tall. Furthermore, they are usually not fragrant, but are very hardy and will spread into nice lily colonies over time. Likewise, they do well in pots and will grow in sun and partial shade.
Turkcap Lilies are sometimes referred to as woodland Lilies because they are more shade tolerant than most. They are tall with nodding flowers and hardy to zone 3. Some feel these are a bit more challenging to grow and may not grow the first season, coming up the next spring.
Many people are very familiar with the large white trumpet Easter Lily. They are often forced into bloom for the Easter holiday. Planted in the garden, they bloom in July or August. They grow two to three feet and are hardy to zone 4.
Oriental Lilies are famous for their strong, sweet fragrance. They prefer an acid soil with plenty of organic material worked into the soil. The most well-known Oriental Lily is the Star Gazer. They grow up to four feet tall and have large flowers up to a foot wide. They are hardy to zone 4.
One of my favorite Lilies are the Orientpet or sometimes called Tree Lilies. I have two growing in my garden that are at least 10 feet tall! They are fragrant and need at least three years and plenty of moisture to reach their full height. They bloom mid-summer and are hardy to zone 3.
Another favorite of mine is the double Tiger Lily (Lilium Lancifolium ‘Flore Pleno.’) These appeared in garden catalogs in the 1870s and are sometimes advertised as heirloom Lilies. The Lily is bright orange with black spots. The double flower petals are curved backward. It produces tiny black bulbets along the stem. They grow upwards to four feet tall, and are very easy to grow and will spread into large colonies over time.
The large, colorful, often fragrant Lily flowers will bring joy and elegance to your garden for many years to come!
Image by Spencer Wing