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Lily, second only to the rose in beauty

Common Name : Lily


Science-y Name : Lilium


A Few Other Varieties : L. canadense (Canada lily), L. superbum (American tiger lily), L. philadelphicum (Wood lily)


Native or Non : This depends on which variety you plant in your garden. There are 100 species of lily and countless varieties to choose from. The lilies listed above are native to the northeast of the United States. Oriental, Asiatic, and Trumpet are some other common names you might see at your local garden center.


Characteristics : Bright and bold colors. A prominent, trumpet shaped bloom. Tall and strong stalks that support multiple flowers. Whorls of elongated leaves that encircle the single stalk. Must be a lily!

Talk about a flower with a fan base. Lilies are said to be one of the most popular flowering plants in the world. They can be seen in yards across the northeast with their colorful and large flowers. Blooms are often bigger than your hand, and can be yellow, orange, white, pink, purple or a combination of colors. Sometimes the blooms have freckles of darker color in the center. With the right variety of lily in your yard and planted just so you can have color from summer through fall as different varieties bloom at different times.


Fun Fact : After the rose, the lily is probably the best loved and most used cut flower for bouquets and arrangements. With proper care lily flowers can stay fresh and lovely looking for weeks after being cut.

While the longevity of a cut bloom is not a unique flower trait, if you are cutting blooms from your “lily” and they last less than a day inside in a vase then there’s a pretty good chance you have a daylily in your yard vs a true lily.

And here is where plant identification gets fun! While the blooms of a day lily are very visually similar to a true lily (genus lilium) the science-y name for a day lily is Hemerocallis fulva. Hemerocallis grow from tubers and roots while lilium grow from bulbs. Hemerocallis have a skirt of long, arching leaves that crowd around the base of multiple flower stems. There is one flower per stem, and each stem can bloom multiple times.

Lilium have a single, hearty stalk with leaves that go all the way up the stalk in a whorled (spiral) pattern, and one stalk can have multiple blooms. Lilium stalks bloom once per season.

So why are they called daylilies if they aren’t lilies at all? Because they are visually similar, and because the ancient Greeks loved a direct description. Hemerocallis literally means “beautiful for a day”.


Care Considerations : Lilies love direct morning sun and dappled afternoon shade. They can be planted in full sun and thrive best when planted with other lilies or companion plants for protection from wind and too many of nature’s elements.

RAG Thyme gardeners can plant bulbs in the fall so the lily have a chance to establish themselves over the winter and be ready for their spring and summer growth the following season.



Contact us to get an estimate on RAG Thyme services for your yard and garden! We’ll help existing plants stay brilliant, or suggest alternatives with as much beauty and personality.


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