Oriental lily

Oriental lily

All lilies are showy garden flowers, but the Oriental Lily varieties are the showiest of them all. Of the 110 species in the lily family, Oriental Lilies were selected for their upturned fragrant flowers. Like all lilies, Oriental Lilies are native to China and Japan and are related to asparagus, lily-of-the-valley, daylily and hyacinth.
Oriental Lily Flowers
Large, showy and fragrant flowers are characteristic of Oriental Lilies making them an excellent choice for fresh flower arrangements and popular wedding bouquet flowers.
There are many Oriental Lily cultivars in a wide range of colours and patterned petals. The flowers are flattish and can be up to 10 inches across, pointing out or up from the stems. The fragrance of the Oriental Lily has been described as “heavenly”, “intoxicating” and “unforgettable”.

Oriental Lily Cultivation
Their delicate appearance belies the ease of care lilies require. Oriental Lilies will grace any garden in USDA zones 4-9. Grown from bulbs, these perennial plants grow up to 48 inches tall and bloom in mid to late summer, with some cultivars blooming into September.
Lilies are not particularly fussy about soil pH or light. They will grow and bloom in a variety of soil types and in part-shade to full sun gardens. But for the best blooms, a little care in placing these plants will reward the gardener with the brightest of colours and the most wonderful fragrance.
Oriental Lilies do their best in a raised bed that drains well and is filled with rich organic matter, such as compost and peat. A deeply dug bed will give the longest stems, important for flowers destined for the vase. Like any plant that grows from bulbs, a little bone meal worked into the planting hole will provide extra nutrients as the plants establish themselves.
Plant lily bulbs with 2-5 inches of soil covering their tops. In areas where the summers are very hot, the deeper level will help protect the bulb from heat and dryness. Lilies can be planted in clumps of three or five bulbs at least four inches apart.
Lilies like their roots kept cool, so spread a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plants after they appear in spring, or plant annuals around the lily stems to shade the ground where they grow. Lily bulbs also need to be protected from wintery freeze/thaw cycles with a thick layer of mulch spread after the stems die back in fall.
During the lily blooming season, remove faded blooms often. If cutting flowers for the vase, avoid cutting more than one third of the stem height to ensure that the bulbs are able to collect enough sunlight to bloom again next season.
Oriental lilies propagate by producing bulblets around the base of the parent bulb. In the home garden, these bulblets can be left to grow on their own and the clump of lilies need only be divided when they appear overcrowded.
Just the beauty and fragrance alone make the Oriental Lily a desirable flower for the gardener, but considering their easy cultivation and long lasting beauty in bouquets or fresh flower arrangements, the Oriental Lily is a highly attractive selection for the home garden.

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