Articles

KNOWING YOUR LILIES

Lilies, like Narcissus, are organized into divisions. Also like Narcissus, some classes of Lilium are better suited to North Texas gardens than others.




ASIATIC HYBRIDS

(Div. I)

2-4 feet

Earliest to bloom;
up-facing flowers.

Due to their height, they should be sited at the front or middle of the border. They are easy to grow, which makes up somewhat for their lack of fragrance.

MARTAGON HYBRIDS

(Div. II)

3-6 feet

Also called turkscap lily,
they are woodland plants
and can have as many as 50 dainty, down-facing blooms.

I pine for them, but given that Lily Nook's "starter martagon" is $10 each and they don't like hot climates, I'm skittish.

TRUMPETS-AURELIANS

(Div. VI)

2-8 feet

Classic Easter lily form. Bloom in mid- to late  summer; deliciously fragrant.

Their huge flower heads often require staking, but extra measures are well rewarded with gorgeous blossoms.

ORIENTALS

(Div. VII)

Up to 3 feet

Flowers can be 10 inches broad; powerful fragrance.

Also called 'Stargazers', Orientals prefer mildly acid soil and don't like hot climates. Buy bulbs in spring and plant them in deep pots (to help keep their roots cool) with azalea soil and a deep, loose mulch.

INTERDIVISIONAL HYBRIDS

(Div. VIII)

3-5 feet

Includes post-1950 crosses between classes. Bred for garden performance.

Orienpets are a good substitute for Orientals because they are more heat-hardy.

SPECIES LILIES

(Div. IX)

2-5 feet

Distinct forms and cultivation needs.

The wild plants from which breeders develop hybrids. Their graceful, nodding form makes them perfect for cottage gardens. Some are easy and some are difficult, but mail-order sources aimed at serious gardeners warn of the difficulties.