Our favorite things about lilies
- 25 stunning lily varieties
- East to grow and maintain
- Fragrant flowers attract native pollinators like bees and hummingbirds
- Asiatic, double, oriental, tiger, trumpet, and other varieties
Perennial lily plants are easy to grow
Spring- and fall-planted lilies are a garden classic for a reason. These easy-to-grow perennials tolerate a variety of soils and planting scenarios, so lilies are a worthwhile investment to your perennial and cut flower garden. Spring planted lilies like the Asiatic and Oriental varieties range in color from cream to black and everything in between. Tiger lilies have those classic orange-speckled petals that are absolutely stunning. Lilies’ fragrant blooms and showy foliage attract pollinators to the garden and will forever be considered a gardener's favorite.
Asiatic lilies are the earliest bloomers, unfurling their star-shaped blooms in June. These gorgeous blooms don’t smell like other lilies but are still lovely to look at. The smallest among lilies, Asiatics only grow three to four feet tall. Oriental lilies grow a little taller, four to six feet on average, and don’t begin blooming until July. Oriental blooms are the largest, measuring up to 10 inches across, and are famous for their sweet scent. Tiger lilies and trumpet lilies round out the group, revealing their unique, fragrant blooms in midsummer.
When and How to Plant Lily Bulbs
Early spring is a great time to plant lilies. Aim to have your lily bulbs in the ground at least four weeks before the last frost. Choose a planting site that receives partial to full sun. Most lilies prefer well-draining soil with a neutral pH, so add compost and sand if necessary to improve drainage. Add sulfur to acidify the soil and add a little limestone if the soil is already too acidic.
Prior to planting lily bulbs in the spring, use a broadfork or tiller to loosen the soil to about 12 inches. Bury spring-planted lily bulbs about six inches deep, and consider grouping three to five bulbs together for a striking visual effect. Space single bulbs or clumps about 8 to10 inches apart. Give the bulbs a thorough drink after planting. Once spring-planted bulbs start to send up shoots, mulch the row to retain moisture and keep weeds at bay.
Lilies can also be planted in fall, around the same time that you’d be planting tulips and daffodils. Aim to have fall lily bulbs in the ground at least four weeks before the first frost. Choose a planting site that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight.
Lilies for Long-Lasting Flower Arrangements
Lilies are a favorite for cut flowers. To harvest them for decorating, cut the stem about 10 inches down, but no more than half the entire stalk. Lilies need a portion of the stem intact to rejuvenate and return again to bloom next season. Cut lilies when the first bloom has started to show color and open. Immediately transfer to water—the remaining buds will open in the vase. This staggered blooming results in a cut flower arrangement that lasts up to two weeks! If you'd rather not cut your precious lilies (and we don’t blame you), be sure to deadhead spent stems to encourage the most flowering.
With such a wide range of lilies, try filling your garden with diverse colors and sizes. For maximum color and fragrance all season (and for minimum stress during the ordering process) check out Eden Brothers’ 60 Days of Lilies. Or, look into Eden Brothers' other 25 lily varieties to create the perfect color pallet for your garden. For more information about planting, growing, and harvesting spring-planted lily bulbs, see the Lily Flower Planting Guide.