Lilies are one of the most delicate flowers to gaze on. They have a certain charisma, making them a favorite container flower in gardens, for stem cuts in vases and in flower arrangements for all occasions.
Lilies are also one of the most symbolic flowers in many cultures in the world especially in Europe and Asia. But did you know that there are various types of lilies to choose from?
These various lily types have sets of distinguishable characteristics, hence, the famous lily divisions. So if you are here for that, read on.
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In this article:
- How many types of lilies are there?
- Division 1: Asiatic Hybrids
- Division 2: Martagon Hybrids
- Division 3: Candidum Hybrids
- Division 4: American Hybrids
- Division 5: Longiflorum and Easter Hybrids
- Division 6: Trumpet and Aurelian Hybrids
- Division 7: Oriental Hybrids
- Division 8: Orient Pet Hybrids
- Division 9: Interdivisional Hybrids
- Division 10: Species & Wild Lilies
- What is the difference between a daylily and a lily?
- What are the most fragrant lilies?
- Which Lily smells the best?
- What does a lily symbolize?
- What does a lily plant look like before it blooms?
- How many times will a lily bloom?
- Why is Lily called the flower of light?
- Where do lilies grow?
- Will lily come back every year?
How many types of lilies are there?
This can be tricky because types can also be mistaken as the number of existing lily cultivars.
If we are referring to this, well we could say that there are more than 150 types of lilies (and counting). But if we are talking about the types of lilies by virtue of the same characteristics and care requirements, then there are ten types, more or less.
Division 1: Asiatic Hybrids
Aside from being the easiest to grow lilies, they are also the earliest bloomers with the brightest range available. These notable traits are attributed to their hybrid genes. If you want to plant one, here are some Asiatic hybrids that you should get to know.
1. Black Out
It has elegant dark red flowers accented with dark red to black centers. The flowers bloom upwards throughout the summer with five flowers in each stem. It is self-seeding so expect for it to come back each year.
It is striking with its recurving tips and bright orange colored blooms with dark red stamens. At full bloom, it is bowl-shaped and its petals will face upwards.
Its blooms spread widely at 8inches and its stems could hold 12 flowers. It blooms the entire summer at 3ft tall.
It is a bright yellow flower with dark red freckles all over the blooms. These downward-facing flowers form clumps over the years with at least 20 of them in one stem. It blooms from early to mid-summer at 5ft tall.
4. Dot Com
It grows large white or purple-pink flowers with burgundy spots emerging from the center. Each stem could hold 9 flowers per stem and blooms from early to mid-summer at 3ft tall.
5. Fire King
It adds tropical flair to the garden with its rich, red-orange flowers that look like fire. It is self-seeding and blooms from late spring to early summer at 4ft tall.
6. Grand Cru
It is known for its bright red flowers and burgundy center. It is self-seeding, hence, shall come back each year to bloom from early to mid-summer. It grows at a maximum of 4ft.
It is a popular bouquet flower due to its upward-facing flowers with recurved tips, bright red petals and black spots clumped in the center. Each stem produces 10 flowers from early to mid-summer.
8. Black Spider
This prolific blooming lily is unique for its cream-yellow flower with deep burgundy spots mixing with its black-colored center. It grows up to 3ft, blooms from early to mid-summer and blooms seven flowers per stem.
9. Gran Paradiso
It is an upward-facing flower with recurved tips and bowl-shaped, deep red blooms with orange centers. It blooms from mid to late summer at 4ft tall.
10. King Pete
Its bright yellow flowers are upward-facing and wide-opening. It is also adorned with a dark yellow center and dotted with brown freckles. It is self-seeding and blooms from early to mid-summer.
11. Patricia’s Pride
It also goes by the name of Purple Rain. It is an upward-facing, wide-opening flower with white petals and burgundy-purple center. It blooms each year from early to mid-summer.
Division 2: Martagon Hybrids
They are also fondly called as Turk’s Caps lilies known to produce small, whorled, cascading flowers. They are also early bloomers who love the shade and could thrive through frost.
While it may take a while before they could establish themselves in new environments, they will last long after successfully adapting. Here’s the most popular Martagons you should know about.
12. Arabian Knight
It is easy to spot with its golden-brown blooms with dark mahogany brown spots. Each stem can hold at least 50 flowers, all facing downwards. It blooms throughout summer, will bloom yearly and can self-seed.
13. Claude Shride
It is in between dark red to brown mahogany and dotted with bright orange freckles. Its flowers face downwards and blooms yearly from early to mid-summer. It can self-seed and grows at a maximum of 6ft tall.
14. Manitoba Morning
It has interesting reddish pink flowers, dark brown freckles and yellow center. Its flowers are downward-facing with each stem producing 50 flowers from early to mid-summer.
15. Martagon Mix
If you want the best of all Martagnons, this is the hybrid that you want to naturalize. Its downward-facing, recurved tipped flowers cascade from their stalks in varied colors of yellow, purple, pink, orange, red, yellow and white (all of these in one plant) during summer.
Division 3: Candidum Hybrids
Evidences of the pure white lily where the candidum hybrid botanically comes from have been around for 4,000 years. These hybrids are native to Europe specifically in Greece and the Balkan countries. They bloom from late spring to early summer and they are known for their pure white color and yellow base.
16. June Fragrance
It has very fragrant, large, white flowers and can tolerate colder climates but under extreme protection measures. It blooms from late May to mid-June, hence, the name.
It is unique for its lance-shaped leaves. It is stunning for its apricot-orange flowers with red streaks down to the center. It is relatively drought-tolerant, blooming through summer.
Division 4: American Hybrids
They are called as such because they are derived from the white lilies of North America. In humid and warmer regions, expect them to bloom in late spring while in cooler regions, these lilies will bloom mid-summer. The most popular American hybrid is the Bellingham.
Division 5: Longiflorum and Easter Hybrids
In layman’s terms, they are called Easter lilies and are traditionally used as Easter decoration in many cultures.
They are native to Japan and Taiwan and are distinguishable for their large and fragrant, pure white, trumpet-shaped flowers. They exclusively grow in containers because they are not as hardy as the other lilies.
18. White Heaven
It is riveting for its trumpet-shaped, pure white flowers with yellowish center and orange-yellow stamen that could grow long to up to 17inches. It is outward-facing, fragrant and blooms from mid to late summer.
It has the perfect all-pink contrast. It is majorly baby pink in color with contrasts of darker pink down to the center. It blooms all summer at 4ft tall with seven flowers per stem.
20. White American
At full bloom, its flowers open wide at 5 inches across. It has recurved, pure white flowers with yellow anthers and green tips. The flowers are upward-facing and each stalk produces 8 flowers from early to mid-summer.
Division 6: Trumpet and Aurelian Hybrids
These are two lily types clustered in one division because they have almost the same care requirements and characteristics. These ones prefer full sun, hence, not cold-hardy. They will bloom pink, elongated, closed-trumpet or tubular flowers throughout summer.
21. African Queen
These exotic looking lilies are known for their striking apricot-orange, trumpet-shaped flowers. They send fragrant smells in the garden making them good choices for vases and arrangements. They can grow up to 3ft and bloom from mid to late summer.
It is loved for its strong, fragrant smell and outward-facing, trumpet-shaped, white flowers with gold centers and scattered streaks of pink and purple. It blooms only in the mid-summer.
23. Golden Splendor
It is an award-winning lily recognized by international horticultural organizations. It is known for its trumpet-shaped, golden brown flowers and burgundy underside. It is outward-facing and each stem produces 20 clustered blooms all through summer.
24. Pink Perfection
It is an outward-facing, trumpet-shaped flower with purple-pink color and white edges. It is loved for its very fragrant smell all through summer. It is more heat-tolerant than most lilies. Each stem will produce at least 20 clustered flowers.
Division 7: Oriental Hybrids
These are the products of the cross-breeding L. auratum and L. speciosum. They are known for their large, curved, upright petals that bloom from late summer to early fall.
They are one of the most famous cut flowers because of their strong, fragrant smell. They could reach a full height of 5ft.
Its outward-facing flowers are notable for their pure white color and deep green centers. It blooms from spring to mid-summer at 4ft, maximum.
This one is compelling for its white petals with red freckles all over and defined red stripe cutting in the middle. It is self-seeding and comes back annually to bloom throughout the summer at a max of 4ft tall.
It is unique for its small, bright pink flowers and a heart-shaped, white center. Each stem will have 10 flowers blooming all through summer. They are annual bloomers as they can self-seed.
28. Starlight Express
Each stalk will produce 15 flowers in deep pink colors adorned with white edges. This bowl-shaped flower is self-seeding, blooming annually from mid to late summer and growing slowly at a maximum of 1.5 ft.
29. Tom Pouce
Its flowers have soft-pink and contrasting dark brown stamens. The flowers grow wide at 8 inches and the whole plant grows at 3ft tall. It blooms annually from mid to late summer.
30. Love Story
It is perfect as both a container flower or a border plant. It is known for its large crimson red flowers with white edges and glossy green leaves. It is also a popular cut flower that blooms from late summer to early fall.
31. Tiger Moon
It is majorly white in color dotted with brown freckles, maroon stamens and a yellow center. It blooms annually from July to August. It is cold-hardy, being able to tolerate up to -15C.
32. Red Eye
It has a notable fiery red color, adorned with burgundy spots and white edges. It is cold-hardy, blooming from July to August. It is extremely fragrant and is a favorite of florists thanks to its large, elongated flowers.
It is one of the most popular oriental hybrids. It is upward-facing with recurved tips and long, red-orange stamens. Its petals are white with a red base and darker red spots. It blooms throughout summer.
It blooms with exceptional beauty thanks to its pure white petals with a mix of yellow and fuchsia stripe in the middle and red-pink freckles. It blooms from early to mid-summer and is loved for its fragrance.
Division 8: Orient Pet Hybrids
It is more known as OT lilies and are clustered among the interdivisional hybrids. They are robust, very fragrant and can tolerate more heat than other lily types.
This striking lily is unique for its pendant-shaped blooms with pink dots in the center, outwards and white streaks out to the edges. Blooming from mid to late summer, each stem can hold 20-30 flowers, making it a beautiful summer choice.
Blooming largely up to 7inches wide, this one is known for its bowl-shaped, golden yellow flowers. It grows to up to 4ft tall and blooms from mid to late summer.
37. Black Beauty
It has a very interesting bloom of crimson red petals, with white margins, green, star-shaped center and protruding anthers. It grows up to 7ft tall and blooms throughout summer.
It is an amazing container lily striking for its old rose flowers with white edges. It blooms from mid to late summer at 4ft tall. Its flowers are generally toxic to pets.
It is a famous flower cut with interesting colors of peach, cream and red toned-petals, gold centers and pale pink edges. It blooms all through summer at 4ft tall, max.
40. Robert Swanson
It is known for its large, flame-colored flowers of red and tinges of orange. Its recurved petals have yellow edges and apple green centers. Each bulb produces 40 flowers and blooms from mid to late summer.
41. Silk Road
It also goes by the name Friso with crimson red color from the center outwards and donned with white edges. It blooms all through summer.
It is an upward-facing, bowl-shaped flower with dark-purple pink petals, red-orange stamen and a gold center. It is self-seeding, blooming annually from mid to late summer.
Division 9: Interdivisional Hybrids
These hybrids are products of crossing specific wild plants with any of the lilies in the first seven divisions.
43. LA hybrids
These ones are made from crossing Asiatic hybrids with L. longiflorum. They produce large and fragrant flowers that are mostly flat in shape. They can grow up to 7inches.
44. OT hybrids
These, on the other hand, are crossbreds of Oriental lilies and the Trumpet/Aurelian lilies. They are known for being robust growers. They are durable and can tolerate very hot climates. They produce large, outward facing flowers and are famous stem cuts because its flowers are heavily scented.
Division 10: Species & Wild Lilies
These ones are basically the wild lilies or native plant species in which the first eight divisions of lilies are bred with. These native lilies are native to Europe, North America and heavily in Asia. They are harder to grow as hybrids compared to growing them as in the wild from seeds.
It has the perfect all-pink contrast. It is majorly baby pink in color with contrasts of darker pink down to the center. It blooms all summer at 4ft tall with seven flowers per stem.
46. Lady Alice
It is a hybrid lily crossed with the Lilium Henryi cultivar. It has a unique pendulum-shaped, apricot-orange petal that fade into white at the edges. It also has cinnamon colored freckles reaching to the center. It blooms through summer.
It is native to Japan, known for its slender stems, downward-facing golden yellow flowers and chocolate-brown freckles all over. It is often confused with tiger lilies and blooms from mid to late summer.
48. Pumilum lily
It produces scarlet red, curving flowers with black spots forming at its base. Each stem will produce 30 flowers that bloom all through summer. It will grow up to 2ft tall.
49. Big Brother
At full bloom, it can open wide to as large as a kid’s face. It is outward-facing with white petals and yellow streaks coming from the center and forming in the middle as stripes running to the tip. It blooms annually during mid-summer.
It is another florist favorite thanks to its intense, upward-facing, very fragrant blood red flowers. They resemble Christmas lilies and bloom the entire summer.
51. Flore Pleno
It is also called the Double Tiger lily due to its bright orange, double flowers with at least 45 petals in one. With its dark brown spots all over, it highly resembles tiger lilies. Each stem will produce at least 25 clumped flowers annually throughout summer.
What is the difference between a daylily and a lily?
Contrary to what most people believe, daylilies and lilies are in no way botanically related. Daylilies belong to the Hemerocallis family while lilies are of course from the Lilium family. To further differentiate them, here are some characteristics that you should be keen of.
First, daylilies are rhizomic while lilies grow from bulbs.
Second, daylilies have layered petals (three petals on top and three petals forming on the sepal) while lilies have a single bloom composing an average of six petals.
Third, daylilies can only grow to up to 4ft while lilies can reach a maximum of 10ft. Fourth, daylilies are called as such because their flowers only last a day while lilies are famous for florists because they could last long.
Lastly, the flowers of daylilies are edible while the lily, in its entirety, is toxic mostly to cats.
What are the most fragrant lilies?
Most Asiatic lilies have no scent while Martagon lilies are too scented they would be too much for vases. Across the lily divisions, these are the most fragrant lilies of all: oriental hybrids, species of wild lilies, interdivisional hybrids and trumpet lilies.
Which Lily smells the best?
If you want just one answer, you will not get it here. Did you know that there is a list of lily powerhouse under the category of best-smelling lilies? And since we already know which divisions these ones are filed in, it would be best to just give you the most raved lilies with the best smell.
- Madonna lily
- Easter lily
- Bright star
- Copper king
- African queen
- Golden splendor
What does a lily symbolize?
As have been mentioned, lilies are highly symbolic in many cultures and religions. For the Greeks, lilies are associated with motherhood, fertility and femininity as it is believed that its whiteness was due to Hera’s dripping breastmilk.
In China, lilies symbolize abundance, good fortune and undying love as it is the symbol of 100 years of love.
For Christians, Madonna lilies are associated with purity, specifically to the Virgin Mary.
In general, lily stands for a lot of things like prosperity, enjoyment, gratitude, virtue, purity and passion.
Read more: Lily flower meaning
What does a lily plant look like before it blooms?
Lilies grow from bulbs, hence, they look like closed squash flowers before they bloom, minus the hairy base of course. When grown from seeds, these bulbs will be seen after a year or two so you have a lot of time to know about what it looks like before they actually bloom.
How many times will a lily bloom?
With the best conditions and through delicate care, lilies will bloom annually. After it blooms, the foliage will naturally wilt and die but cutting them off at the first sight of wilting might cause them not to bloom the following year.
The remedy to this is to plant other fast-growing plants and use the dead foliage as organic mulch. Check the foliage in the late fall or early spring and cut them as soon as they have died up.
Why is Lily called the flower of light?
The allusion to lily as the flower of light can be traced back to the poem by Ben Jonson. The lily was used as a metaphor for life because it grows in full bloom in the day, spreading brightness where it blooms. And although it does not bloom for a long time, it radiates purity, peace, love and happiness, hence, a true flower of light.
Where do lilies grow?
Lilies grow in moist, well-draining soils. They love non-soggy soils, full sun and loads of organic nutrients coming from mulch. In temperate regions, they require full sun for half a day but in very hot regions, they need to be kept in the shade in the afternoons.
As for their native regions/locations, lilies grow in temperate climates in Asia (i.e. Japan, Taiwan, China and most of Asia), in Europe (the Balkan countries and the Mediterranean) and in North America (including some parts of Canada).
Will lily come back every year?
Provided that they get the right care requirements and that they are planted in the right location, yes, lilies will come back every year, blooming for two to four weeks depending on where they are planted. We have summed this up in the previous sections.
There are a lot of reasons why lilies are universally loved. Generally, they are easy to grow and they have minimum care requirements. Aside from that, there are hundreds of them to choose from, blooming in various shapes and colors.
You can have low-growing ones, tall stemmed ones, tube-like flowers, cascading flowers, name it, it has a cultivar like it. So you see, you can never go wrong with lilies; botanically and symbolically, there are a lot of reasons why it never falls short.