Lilies are bulbous flowering plants known for beautiful ornamental flowers, but there are so many different names and types that it can get confusing. The lily genus (Lilium) includes over 100 species, most of which are native to temperate climates. Lilies have rigid flower stems, long, narrow leaves, and showy blooms. Depending on the variety, blooms come in a variety of colors and can be bell shaped, trumpet shaped, or bowl shaped. They usually bloom in the summer and make excellent garden plants. Many are pleasantly fragrant. Below is a brief introduction to the most popular types of true lily.
Asiatic lilies are exceptionally popular and durable, featuring bright blooms in nearly every color but blue. They are an early-blooming type of lily, typically starting by early June. Asiatic lilies are not nearly as fragrant as some other types of lily.
Common varieties of Asiatic lily include Alpenglow, Cote D’Azur, Enchantment, Golden Pixie, Jetfire, LaToya, Luxor, Sorbet, and Shirley.
The Oriental lily is the largest and most fragrant type of lily. Blooming in mid-to-late summer, they begin just as the Asiatic lilies are finishing. Common colors include crimson, pink, and white. Often, individual flower petals contain multiple, contrasting colors, which makes for a striking effect. Oriental lilies are about a foot taller than the Asiatics, at three to six feet tall.
Common varieties of Oriental lily include Black Beauty, Journey’s End, Le Reve, Casa Blanca, Stargazer, and Mona Lisa.
Trumpet lilies are distinguished by their fused petals, which create a horn or trumpet like flower. Trumpet lilies bloom at the same time as the Oriental lilies, typically in whites and yellows. They are highly fragrant can reach four to eight feet in height.
Common varieties of Trumpet lily include African Queen, Heart’s Desire, First Love, Golden Splendor, and Bright Star.
The Martagon lilies, or Turk’s Cap lilies, have smallish, downward-facing flowers that create a turban-like shape. This type of lily flower is smaller than other lily varieties, though they are available in a variety of striking hues. Martagon lilies are typically seen in woodland habitats. They grow from four to seven feet in height.
Common varieties of Martagon lily include Early Bird, Marhan, Album, Claude Shride, and Shantung.