Globally, Lilies rank fourth among flowers in popularity.

Lilies of different kinds are commonly found all across the globe. Lilies come in different shapes, sizes and colors.

Lilies are really excellent plants for beds and borders. Lilies are suitable for use in a shrub border, as accent plants, a formal or naturalized pool planting. Even some of the small species would fit perfectly in an alpine rock garden.


The Lily flower symbolizes purity and refined beauty. Based on the color or type, the Lily flower can convey different meanings.

Color/Type of Lily Symbolic Meaning
White lily modesty and virginity
orange lily passion
yellow lily gaiety
Lily of the valley sweetness and purity of heart
Easter lily symbol of Virgin Mary

Due to its regal beauty and the variety in color and type that can symbolize a variety of meanings, Lilies are also popular flowers for gifting purposes. Among the flower bouquets of lilies, stargazer and cassablanca lily bouquets are the most sought after floral bouquets. Besides bouquets, lily bulbs as well as potted lily plants are also popular gifts.

There are many kinds of flowers which have been called "Lilies" but many of these so-called Lilies such as the day-lily, water-lily, and arum-lily, actually belong to other groups of flowering plants.

Plants in the Liliales grow from bulbs or corms, both of which will store food over the winter or during the dry season. Unlike other Liliales, these vines produce their flowers in spherical clusters called Umbels, as in Bomarea.

True Lilies are composed of fleshy scales without a protective outer coating. True Lilies are never dormant.

Different species of Lilies

Scientific Name Common Name Common Uses
Lilium auratum Japanese golden rayed lily Lily from Japan, white bowl-shaped flowers with a golden ray down the center of petals and crimson spots. The flowers are fragrant and make a great cut flower.
Lilium bulbiferum Orange lily The bulbs are edible. Sweet and mealy, these lilies make very fair eating and can be used as a substitute to potato.
Lilium canadense Canada lily Scented use
Lilium candidum Madonna lily The bulb is employed for medicinal purposes, having highly demulcent and also astringent properties.
Lilium henryi Henry's lily Relieves congestion and the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy
Lilium japonicum Krameri Nourishing and useful in diseases of the chest
Lilium tigrinum Tiger lily A lily from China with light glowing orange colored flowers, purplish black spots and protruding stamens. They are late flowering, black stem bulbils with stem rooting.
Lilium lancifolium Tiger lily Produce edible bulbs
Lilium longiflorum Easter lily Trumpet shaped, white and waxy flowers that flower early and have stem rooting. They are mostly used in flower beds
Lilium martagon Martagon lily, Turkscap lily The bulb has diuretic, emmenagogue, emollient and expectorant properties. They are used to relieve heart diseases, pain in the cardiac region and angina pectoris.
Lilium pardalinum Panther lily The flowers are 1.5 meters tall, red in color with a yellow center and maroon spots on it. The bulbs are edible.
Lilium regale Regal lily Plant in groups integrated in a perennial border.
Lilium speciosum Japanese lily The flowers diffuse a powerful sweet honey perfume.

Lilies are propagated mainly by means of bulbs. They are also grown from seeds, scales, bulbils and bulblets. One can buy lily bulbs online or from a local bulb vendor.

Although the lilies grown from seeds are more disease resistant, the only disadvantage with growing lilies from seeds is that the lily plants take a longer time to bloom, and maybe, in some cases, even take five to six years. Hence, bulbs are very much preferred in growing lilies.

  • Lilies are usually planted during fall or spring in the garden.
  • Lilies can also be grown in containers or outdoors.
  • A cool, porous and well-drained soil is essential for the good growth of lilies.
  • Adding large amounts of organic matter will improve clay or sandy soils. The bulbs will stay in place for several years, so good bed preparation is an investment for the future.
  • The ideal location for Lilies will provides direct sun all morning during the summer, with partial shade during hot afternoon hours.
  • When selecting bulbs, be sure that they do not look dry or shriveled, and plant them immediately.
  • Proper spacing is usually 12 to 18 inches apart but varies according to the variety selected.
  • As soon as the soil has become consistently warm during late spring, apply a 3-inch layer of organic mulch around the plants. The mulch will conserve soil moisture and keep the soil (and bulbs) from becoming too hot during the summer.
  • Lilies do not require daily watering, but when watering, be sure to water deep enough to reach the bulb.
  • Feed the plants with a balanced fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers.
  • Remove seedpods when they appear.
  • Also, remove stems and foliage when leaves become yellow.
  • The mulch should be removed in late fall.
  • Keep lilies blooming by removing blossoms as they fade. This prevents the plant from expending its energy in producing seed.
  • The oil extracted from lilies has healing and softening properties. Especially, when the lily fragrance oil is mixed with that of calendula, it works wonderfully for very sensitive skin.
  • Lily oils can be used for massage, in a bath, after a bath, for babies, dry cuticles and elbows, as a facial moisturizer, under-eye oil and hot-oil treatment.