Lilies in the garden
The lily is a striking flower that enjoys widespread popularity. It is particularly known for its suitability as a cut flower. Its wonderful colours, large blooms and characteristic scents adorn many living rooms. But did you know that lilies can also look stunning in your garden? Unexpectedly, perhaps, lily bulbs will thrive in gardens and their exotic flowers provide a wonderfully elegant splash of colour.
Varieties and sizes
Whether you are working within a particular colour palette for your garden or just looking for an explosion of colour, lilies are perfect. These beauties are actually available in a range of colours: whites, pinks, lilacs, reds, yellows, oranges, purples - and all shades in between. And as if that weren’t enough, there are also varieties with speckles and stripes. The shape of the flowers provide variety too, with trumpet-shaped, cup-shaped or flat blooms. The size of the flowers ranges from 7cm across - which look romantic and dainty in your garden - right up to a diameter of 25cm, for that truly exotic look.
Many people love the intense perfume-like fragrance that is produced by some lily species, but the scent can become overpowering in an enclosed space. Outside in the garden, though, the scent of the lily is free to disperse and mingle with all the other smells of the garden, so this is never a problem - hurray! The speciosum hybrid lilies, for example, give out a heavenly, subtle vanilla scent. Scentless lilies are also an option for your garden. For this, choose an Asian lily. These have only a very faint scent, or none at all.
Planting and caring for lilies
With their tall, colourful blooms, lilies will bring a hint of the exotic to any garden. And fortunately, planting lily bulbs couldn’t be simpler. If the bulbs have started to grow roots, they should be planted 20-25 cm deep. Lily bulbs without roots need to be planted between 10 and 15 centimetres deep. There is one type of lily that needs special treatment - the white Madonna lily (Lilium candidum). For this variety, the uppermost tip of the bulb needs to be planted right below the surface of the soil so that they can feel the warmth of the sun. It’s best to plant lilies between 20 and 40 centimetres apart. These elegant ladies combine perfectly with low-growing broad-leafed plants. That's because lilies like to stand with their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade.
When do lilies bloom?
In the garden, lilies will bloom abundantly for a few weeks. And by planting different varieties of lily in your garden, you can enjoy their flowers for up to three months. The riot of colour starts in June and goes through until August.
We’ve prepared an overview so that you can see which lilies bloom when:
- early June: Madonna lily (Lilium candidum), 2-3 weeks
- mid June: Asian lilies, 2-3 weeks in full bloom
- late June: trumpet lilies, 2-3 weeks
- early August: Oriental lilies, 3-4 weeks
- mid August: Nepalese lilies, 2-3 weeks
- September: speciosum hybrid lilies, 3-4 weeks
- Some lily bulbs look a little wrinkled. This is nothing to worry about. Place them in moist soil for a day and they will absorb lots of moisture. This will help them get off to a good start and they’ll soon grow up into elegant beauties that will transform your garden.
- Do you have super-tall lilies in the garden? Give them some extra support by placing a cane into the ground next to them and attaching the longer stems to the cane. This will help to prevent damage from strong wind or heavy rain.
- If you're going to plant lily bulbs, don’t plant just one, but put five bulbs in close together. This will create much more impact in your garden, giving you real splashes of exotic colour.
- Do have a balcony or terrace, rather than a garden? You can still enjoy growing lilies. They are quite happy in pots or containers.
- Did you know that you don’t have to plant lilies in the spring? The autumn is also a perfect time to plant as many as you want.