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Types of Lilies to Grow in the Summer Garden

For centuries, lilies have captivated the hearts of gardeners. A cultivated plant as old and versatile as the lily means there are so many types of lilies to choose from. Today, I’m breaking down some of the many types of lilies out there so you can find the perfect lily flower for your garden.

Lily blooming in a garden

When you start to get into lilies, you’ll realize how quickly you can fall down the rabbit hole. They’ve been hybridized so many times that there are now thousands of cultivars.

Some are easier to grow than others, and some are more popular than others.

If you find yourself breaking into the world of lilies, all the divisions can get complicated. Here, I wanted to break down some of the most common lily divisions and their popular cultivars.

But don’t get hung up on all the different types of lilies, trying to figure out what’s in your garden. For the most part, they’re all grown the same way and are all guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

P.S. I have a very exciting giveaway for you to enter at the end of the post, so be sure to check it out!

types of lilies
Double flowering Oriental Lily. Lilium ‘Roselily Isabella’. Photo courtesy of

Special Note: a HUGE thanks to for sponsoring this post. They are one of my favourite partners to work with because they have the simple goal of spreading the love of flower bulbs. Go to for inspiration and education!

Types of Lilies

Below, you might not see some of your favourite “lilies”. While many flowers have lily in the title, they are not actually considered lilies. This includes cannas, callas, daylilies, water lilies, and lily of the valley. True lilies are those belonging to the Lilium family.

Of the true lilies, there are nine divisions, each with its own subdivisions. Every lily falls under one of these divisions. In fact, certain lilies can fall under multiple divisions. To say it can get confusing is an understatement.

In many cases, a lily looks like a lily to the eye, and that’s not a bad thing. You don’t need to know the horticultural division classifications set out by the North American Lily Society or the Royal Horticultural Society to be successful.

With your lilies, the best bet is to read the info that comes with the bulbs, as that will give you the most specific growing information for your type of lily.

So now, if you’ve been bitten by the lily bug, here are the types of lilies to have on your radar!

Orienpet lily. ‘Black Beauty’

Asiatic Hybrids

Lilium asiatica

Many gardeners add Asiatic lilies to their gardens as they’re one of the easier lilies to grow and find. If you visit the garden centre, they’re likely the first type of lily you’ll see!

They’re known for their bright colours and spots, ranging from pastels to deep reds. The flowers vary in shape, from simple to curved.

Their straight stems feature lots of flowers, with 3-6 per stem. The plants range 2-5 ft high and can usually stand on their own without any stakes. Asiatic lilies are among the first lilies to bloom, sprouting flowers in late spring and early summer. They live long and are vigorous growers, enjoying a long bloom season of around one month.

Unlike most of the other lilies, you won’t get any fragrance from Asiatic lilies. They’re also a favourite for deer and rabbits, so keep them in an area of the garden they can’t get to.

Here are some of the popular cultivars:

  • ‘Horizon’ (orange)
  • ‘India’ (red)
  • ‘Paulus Potter’ (white with red center)
  • ‘Admiration’ (cream-white)
  • ‘Connecticut King’ (yellow)
  • ‘Monta Rosa’ (pink)
  • ‘Roma’ (creamy-white)
  • ‘Enchantment’ (orange)
  • ‘Alaska’ (white)
  • ‘Gran Paradiso’ (red)
burgundy lily
Lilium asiatica ‘Cacharel’

Martagon Hybrids

Lilium martagon

If bountiful numbers are your thing, try growing martagon lilies! More commonly known as Turk’s cap lilies, these flowers can grow up to 6 feet tall and contain a dozen or more blooms per stem. In fact, you may see upwards of 50 flowers per stem if you’re lucky.

These lilies are a little more difficult and can take a year or so to adjust to a garden, but they are well worth the effort. They create a beautiful woodland-like landscape.

You’ll often find them in yellow, orange, dark red, white, pink, and light purple with spots. They have much smaller flowers that face downward with curved petals. They’re another early bloomer.

Out of all the lilies, these are the most shade-tolerant and do not typically grow well in hot and humid climates.

Common cultivars include:

  • ‘Arabian Knight’ (fragrant, golden with mahogany spots)
  • ‘Manitoba Morning’ (pinkish-red with mahogany spots)
  • ‘Scarlet Morning’ (orange blossoms with mahogany spots)
orange martagon lily
Lilium martagon ‘Peppard Gold’

Trumpet and Aurelian Lilies

For many, trumpet lilies are what comes to mind when you picture the lily flower. These flowers never fail to produce many flowers. On each stem, you can get an average of 12-15 blooms. The flowers are quite fragrant and have a heavy, sweet smell, so you’ll surely enjoy them every time you pass by.

Most trumpet lilies will have contrasting colours in white, yellow, orange, and pink shades. The waxy, trumpet-shaped flowers are 6-10 inches long and either face upward or form a bowl shape. 

Unlike most other lilies, they are not frost-hardy and should be planted once the threat of frost has passed in the spring. But they’re fairly easy to grow as long as they’re planted in a sunny location and kept moist.

Because of their later planting, you can expect blooms in mid-to-late summer. Thanks to second or third buds, they have a long flowering period. 

Popular cultivars:

  • Lilium longiflorum (known as the Easter lily with pure white flowers)
  • Lilium regale (pink outside, white inside, and yellow throats)
  • Lilium leucanthum (curved petals and noticeable stamens)
Trumpet Lily Easter Lily
Lilium longiflorum ‘Easter Lily’

Oriental Hybrids

Lilium orientalis

Out of all the lilies, oriental lilies have the most to say, but they can also be the most difficult to grow. These dramatic flowers can be as large as a dinner plate and have ruffled edges. The flower petals are much larger than Asiatic lilies and open up completely, showing off spots and other vibrant patterns.

They grow tall, 2-5 feet and often need stakes to support their large blooms. These lilies are the last to bloom, emerging in late summer from August to September.

Everything about them is bold. Their rich colours typically include red, purple, pink, and white. If brought inside, know that they produce heavy amounts of pollen that need clipping. And their delightful fragrance is unmatched!

One of the most popular cultivars of lilies ever, the ‘Star Gazer,’ has pink flowers with white edges and dark spots. A popular cut flower, it lasts long, has an amazing fragrance, and faces upwards for easy admiring.

Other popular cultivars:

  • ‘Mr. Ed’ (white with red speckles)
  • ‘Miss America’ (light pink)
  • ‘Miss Germany’ (pink with a light red star)
  • ‘My Romance’ (dark pink)
  • ‘Marco Polo’ (white with a light pink edge)
  • ‘Mona Lisa’ (pink)
  • ‘Casa Blanca’ (white)
  • ‘Roselily Felicia’ (pictured below!)
types of lilies
Oriental Lily, ‘Roselily Felicia’. Photo courtesy of

Interdivisional Hybrids

In recent years, more interspecific hybrids have begun to pop up, including the popular Orienpet and LA hybrid lilies.

Orienpet lilies are a cross between oriental and trumpet/Aurelian lilies. As with any good crossover, you get the best traits of each of the parents. Orienpet lilies are bold and fragrant like oriental lilies yet have the colour and abundance of trumpet lilies. This makes them one of the all-time favourites for home gardeners.

Orienpet cultivars include:

  • ‘Black Beauty’ (pictured above in my ‘Types of lilies’ intro)
  • ‘Flashpoint (bright pink flowers with white edges and bold fragrance)
  • ‘Gluhwein’ (soft peach with red and pink tones and a golden throat)
  • ‘Belladonna’ (cheerful yellow with large bowl-shaped flowers)

As for the LA hybrid lily, they are a cross between the Easter lily (a type of trumpet lily) with Asiatic varieties. They have a slight fragrance but large flowers and are known for being hardy.

bouquet including lilies in a vase
Orienpet Lily. Lilium ‘Solange’. Photo courtesy of

Species Lily

These lilies are the start of it all so they’re worth a mention! These lilies are any native species found in the temperate areas of North America, Europe, and Asia. 

All cultivars came from species lilies before being further hybridized. They’re the grandmothers of the lily divisions!

In the wild, they propagate from seed. However, species lilies can be difficult for home gardeners to grow despite flourishing on their own without human help.

There are also American hybrids, which are hybrids derived from North American species and aren’t to be confused with species lilies.

Notable species lilies include:

  • Canada Lily (Lilium canadense)
  • Tiger lily (Lilium lancifolium)
  • Henry’s lily (Lilium Henryi)
  • Madonna lily (Lilium candidum)
  • Golden-rayed lily (Lilium auratum)

How to Plant Lilies

Lily flowers come from true bulbs and should be planted either in the fall four weeks before the first frost date or early in spring once the ground becomes workable. Space each bulb 12 inches apart and 6 inches deep. To avoid bulb rot, make sure to plant them in well-draining soil.

You can also plant lilies in pots, but they must be a low-growing variety. Make sure the pot is deep enough, around 12-16 inches. Pair with good potting soil for proper drainage.

Lilies can grow in partial shade but prefer full sun. Since they like ‘cold feet,’ try to add plants to shade the lower part of the plant from the afternoon sun. They work well paired with perennials and will provide bursts of summer colour after the spring shrub blooms.

Tall lilies may need staking to stay upright. Consider planting your bulbs in an area sheltered from strong winds. While growing, give them plenty of water and fertilize every two weeks until the flower has finished blooming.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lilies

What does the lily flower symbolize?

Lilies are one of the most popular bouquet flowers and are used to represent many different meanings. For Christians, they are a strong symbol of purity. They’re also very common flowers used in condolence and sympathy bouquets, representing life and remembrance.

That said, they come in many different colours and can be used for all kinds of arrangements.

Do lilies bloom every year?

Lilies are a perennial bulb, with most being hardy in zones 4-9. They need a period of cold where the bulb can recharge and emerge again next summer.

Most lilies will bloom for about 2-3 weeks out of the year. Plant different lilies with early, mid-season, and late bloom times to get lily flowers nearly all summer long.

Do lily flowers multiply?

Most lilies will naturalize and form a large clump of flowers. Lilies should be divided every 2-3 years, where you can split the clump into multiple flowers. Who doesn’t love free plants?!

dark lily flower
Asiatic lily, ‘Netty’s Pride’ Photo Courtesy of

Lily Bulb Giveaway!

If you want to add some beautiful lilies to your garden, be sure to enter my giveaway on Instagram! In partnership with, I’ll be giving away $100 worth of lily bulbs to one lucky winner.

You’ll find all the rules and details on how to enter there. The giveaway closes on May 31st, 2024.

Good luck, and happy planting!

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  2. I love lilies for their beauty and their fragrance. Thank you for the chance to win.


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