7 Types Of Lilies For Dramatic Color All Summer Long

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Lilies herald summer's arrival with beautiful blooms at a time when most flowers are still in a holding pattern. Their bright flowers suit all types of gardens—whether classically designed, cottage-style, or contemporary. Lilies are in the genus Lilium and grow from bulbs. Most are native to the northern hemisphere; they can be found growing both in temperate climates and subtropical environments. Daylilies and canna lilies may have the term "lily" in their common name, but they are not lilies at all.

While it is best to plant lily bulbs in late summer, spring planting is also possible. Some lilies bloom in early summer, while others bloom through fall. Blend different types of lilies with varying blooming times in your garden or containers to have lilies blooming throughout spring and until the first frost of the year. There are several hybrid divisions and another division of species of lilies. Lilies, including their pollen and parts, are toxic to dogs and cats.

While not complete, the following is a selection of lilies popular in the South and commonly available to gardeners.

01 of 07

Asiatic Hybrids

Asiatic lily
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  • Botanical Name: Lilium spp. (Asiatic hybrids)
  • Sun Exposure: Full to partial
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-drained, loamy, sandy, clay
  • Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, neutral

Asiatic lilies are the easiest to grow and most reliable for the average garden. Some have upward-facing flowers, while others have horizontally held or drooping flowers. Colors range from white to yellow and orange to pink and red and may have dark spots or contrasting "halos." Asiatics bloom in early summer. Examples are 'Enchantment,' colored orange-red and spotted with black, the bright yellow 'Impala,' and 'Pink Floyd,' a creamy pink bloom banded in rose pink.

02 of 07

Aurelian Hybrids

Golden Splendour lily
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  • Botanical Name: Lilium henryi (Aurelian hybrids)
  • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-drained, clay, chalky, sandy, loamy
  • Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, neutral

Derived from Asiatic species, Aurelians display trumpet- or bowl-shaped flowers in midsummer and are also known as trumpet lilies. Flowers range from white and cream to yellow and pink, many with green, brown, or purple shading on their outer surfaces. Plants are three to six feet tall, and each stem carries 12 to 20 flowers. Examples include the coppery apricot 'Anaconda,' the 'Black Dragon,' which is strikingly white with maroon petal backs, or the 'Golden Splendour,' which sports yellow blooms from purple buds.

03 of 07

Martagon Species – Turk's Cap

Turk's Cap lilies
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  • Botanical Name: Lilium martagon
  • Sun Exposure: Full to partial
  • Soil Type: Well-drained, sandy, loamy, clay, limestone
  • Soil pH: Acidic, alkaline, neutral

One of the most popular variants of this species is the 'Turk's Cap' lily, with recurved blossoms dangling like tiny butterflies from the end of graceful, three- to five-foot flower stalks. These lilies bloom in early summer and are slow to establish, but they are long-lived and eventually form big clumps. They are very adaptable and able to tolerate drought conditions and poor soil. You'll find these lilies in shades of orange, yellow, red, and pink. The stalks of many varieties grow quite tall—up to six feet! Some have spotted petals while others do not, and most varieties are very fragrant.

04 of 07

Oriental Hybrids

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  • Botanical Name: Lilium spp. (Oriental hybrids)
  • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-drained, clay, loamy, sandy
  • Soil pH: Acidic, neutral

Orientals are the most elegant of the lilies. Their flowers are sometimes mistaken for orchids. They bloom midsummer to early fall, with big (up to nine-inch) fragrant flowers of white or pink, often spotted with gold and shaded or banded with red. Most are tall with nodding flowers, but a few are dwarf and have upward-facing blooms. Look for the pure white 'Casablanca,' the rose red, white-margined 'Stargazer,' or the rose-banded 'Pink Ribbons.'

05 of 07

Longiflorum Species – Easter Lily

Easter lily
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  • Botanical Name: Lilium longiflorum
  • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
  • Soil Type: Well-drained, loamy
  • Soil pH: Acidic, neutral

The most popular variant of this species is the Easter lily, sold almost exclusively as a holiday plant and forced to bloom out of season in time for Easter. These lilies are very hardy plants that survive winter temperatures as low as -20 degrees F. A lot of energy is sapped from the bulb when it is forced to bloom early, and many do not transition well from the pot to the garden. If you hate throwing living things away, try planting the bulb in your garden after the Easter bloom fades. If it takes, you will have flowers for many seasons. Don't plant forced lilies near other lilies, though; they may transmit a virus that will stunt the plant's growth.

06 of 07

Lancifolium Species – Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily
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  • Botanical Name: Lilium lancifolium or Lilium tigrinum
  • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-drained, loamy
  • Soil pH: Acidic

This popular, easy-to-grow lily reaches a height of four feet or taller and blooms in summer, sporting pendulous orange flowers spotted with black. Newer tiger lilies are available in white, cream, yellow, pink, and red, all with black spots.

07 of 07

Candidum Species – Madonna Lily

Madonna lilies
  • Botanical Name: Lilium candidum
  • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
  • Soil Type: Well-drained
  • Soil pH: Neutral

Pure white, fragrant blooms grow on graceful three- to four-foot stems from late spring to early summer. Unlike most lilies, the 'Madonna' dies down soon after blooming and makes new growth in fall. It's best to plant this species while dormant in the fall.

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