Throughout the world Lilies are actually ranked the forth most popular flower, and with many different kinds found around the globe it’s no wonder, lilies come in all shapes, colours and sizes. Lilies are great flowers for garden beds and borders and can be used as accent plants, shrub borders and look great around a pool.
The lily flower itself symbolises refined beauty and purity, with each different colour the lily conveys a different meaning. – White lilies symbolise virginity and modesty, lily of the valley represents sweetness and purity of the heart, the orange lily stands for passion and the yellow lily – gaiety. The Easter lily is the symbol of the Virgin Mary. Due to both their beauty and the variety of colours available the lily has become a popular bouquet flower, they look great mixed with other flowers or simply on their own. Potted lily plants or lily bulbs are also very popular gifts.
There are many different plants out there that have been called lilies, but few are actually true lilies. Plants such as the day-lily, arum-lily and water-lily are actually members of another group of flowering plants. True lilies grow from corms or bulbs which store food during the dry season, or over winter. True lilies are never dormant and are composed of fleshy scales without a protective outer coating
There are many different species of lily including the Japanese golden rayed lily, Canada lily, Orange lily, Henry’s Lily, The Madonna Lily, Tiger Lily, Krameri, Martagon Lily, Easter Lily, Turkscap lily, Japanese lily, Panther lily and the Regal lily.
If you want to grow your own lilies – they are mostly grown from bulbs, but they can be also grown from bulbils, scales, seeds and bulblets – with bulbs available from most garden centres. While you can grow lilies from seeds and they will be more resistant to disease the drawback is they take a lot longer to bloom taking up to 5 or 6 years to produce flowers. This is why it is easier to grow your lilies from bulbs.
Plant your bulbs during spring or autumn, lilies can be grown in containers or outside in the garden or in pots. Ideally place your lilies where they will get direct sun of a morning during summer, but where they will be shaded during the hot afternoon. When selecting your bulbs ensure they don’t look shriveled up or dry and plant them immediately spacing them 30 to 46 centimeters apart – this will vary depending on the variety you have selected, so always read the packaging first.
A nice and cool, well drained and porous soil is essential for the growing of lilies, and if you have clay or sandy soil try adding some organic matter to help improve the quality of the soil. Bulbs will stay in place for many years so preparing a good bed for them is very important.
Did you know – the oil that has been extracted from the lily has softening and healing properties, this is especially when the lily oil is mixed with calendula and has been known to work well for those with very sensitive skin. Lily oil can be used in a bath, after a bath, or as massage oil, it is great for dry cuticles and elbows and can be used as hot oil or under eye treatment.
Lilies are popular flowers with florists. Many floral arrangements and bouquets contain lilies in different colours.