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Lillies Can Enhance Any Garden
by Jennifer Moore
by Jennifer Moore


Jennifer Moore is the owner and operator of Moore Landscaping based in Elora, Ontario. Jennifer is a talented writer and landscape designer providing unique landscaping services.

Her website can be reached here...

March 19, 2000

The lily family in latin is called "liliaceae". This very large grouping of plants is so diverse, I wonder if at one time all plants went into this category! Along with the traditional lilies seen today, plants such as Hosta, Aloe Vera, Trilliums and some spring flowering bulbs fall into this category. Being such a large group, I will divide it into many articles over the growing season.

One member of the liliaceae family is the daylily. Daylilies are the most commonly seen lily, even the wild orange variety growing along the sides of road embankments. These lilies are perennials that bloom in the summer and prefer full sun or part shade. They are a vigorous grower, spreading by underground rhizome and tolerate many types of soil. Clumps of long leaves form graceful fountain shapes, with the flower stems rising above. There are many colours to choose from; pale shades to the most vibrant, in single colours or two tones, and blossoms are single- or semi-double petalled. As their name indicates, blooms only last one day, appearing in mid-afternoon lasting throughout the evening. Daylilies are very easy to grow and multiply, even a novice gardener can achieve beauty with these plants.

Hybrid Lilies are commonly grown in gardens everywhere, seen blooming in the summer. They are less vigorous than the daylily, but are certainly worth a place in the garden. Bulbs create these lilies, from which a single stem emerges to produce many flowers on top. There are many varieties available that are hardy in our climatic zone, and some even colder. Diversity of colours are seen, suiting every colour scheme possible, and generally with brown spots in the center of the blossom. Their leaves are dark green, thin and strap-like that travel up the stem of the flower, not clustering at the base of the plant.

These lilies look best when planted in odd numbers with other flowers, in a flowing pattern, rather than soldiers in a line. They can be grown in partial shade to full sun, requiring moist and rich soil. Different varieties acquire various heights; the shortest being approximately 30 inches and the tallest is eight feet.

Their bulbs multiply slowly; one bulb will divide itself each year, therefore doubling the amount of flowers given. They are best divided in the fall, generally every 3-4 years, as this will enable the plants ample space needed to produce flower stalks and keep healthy. Some varieties in this grouping include: Turk's Cap Lily, Asiatic Lily, Tiger Lily and Canadian Lily.

Another grown, yet less commonly seen in gardens is the Regal Lily, that was introduced approximately one hundred years ago. It resembles the Easter Lily, producing a flower stalk from a bulb, in colours of white or yellow that bloom in the summer. It is suitable for zones 3-8 and grows in a variety of soil conditions, requiring full sun. Each bulb can produce as many as twenty beautiful, large trumpet-shaped blossoms on a single stem. They are best planted in the fall at the back of the border, as they grow four feet in height.

Lilies can be purchased potted up at garden centers, packaged in bags or in bulk bins in the fall. In my experience, I have purchased bulbs all three ways and all grow beautifully.

When planting lilies, plant in well-drained soil to avoid rotting the bulb. Daylilies can be planted virtually anywhere, just below the soil level. The bulb types are planted three times their height, in a suitable location away from strong winds, as this will ensure their stems will not break. Add bone- or blood-meal in the planting hole, as well as sprinkling some on the very top of the soil. This will discourage skunks, raccoons and squirrels from digging up the newly planted bulbs, as well as feed the bulbs in their growing season. The bulb varieties are a source of food for rodents, yet daylilies don't seem to be affected as much.

After the lilies have bloomed, do not cut away their flower stalk or leaves because it is the nourishment received through them this year that produces flowers for the following year. Every property could have one spot for lilies; along the roadside, beside the house foundation and even in deep pots for the apartment dweller. Why not try some!

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