Some recent reader comments set me thinking about the lilies currently blooming in my garden. It turns out most of what I think of as lilies are not lilies.
Lilium ‘Royal Sunset’ and L. ‘Black Out’ (Asiatic lily) – True lilies belong to the Lilium genus and grow from bulbs.
I don’t remember buying L. ‘Black Out’ in 2016 from a local big box store, as my notes indicate, but since then I have discovered Asiatic lilies are great for use in floral design. The fragrance is minimal (none in my experience) unlike the overwhelming scent of an Oriental lily. Several commenters this week were surprised when I used 15 stems of ‘Black Out’ in this week’s Monday vase, but since May 2017 these lilies have bloomed reliably from their home in a large ceramic container. Over the years they have multiplied and they usually open all at once.
Piggybacking on their success has not been easy. Lilium ‘Royal Sunset’ planted in the ground in 2020 has been nibbled by rabbits. Most of these have never bloomed but one survived this year and excelled. This single stalk had many buds, unlike the red ones growing in my large container.
Crinum × powellii (Crinum lily) – Grows from bulbs but oops! Actually in the Amaryllis family.
When I moved into this neighborhood 21 years ago we had a neighbor who also had just moved in also. She was a horticulturalist who quickly joined the grounds committee, organized a community garden club, and set out to fill her yard with interesting plants. One plant she advocated for as typical in a southern garden was Crinum lily. I had never heard of it and don’t think I’ve ever seen one in anyone else’s garden, but a quick web search will support this as a classic southern pass-along. I’m not wedded to this plant. It’s huge and grows new “pups” each year. It blooms reliably but almost aways looks to be sweltering from hot summer weather. We’re not officially in summer but already have had a lot of hot weather and very little rain. Perhaps because I’ve been better about watering the past few weeks I’ve been able to catch my Crinum in a pretty fair mood, but today it was pouty in the mid-day heat. This is its normal demeanor in my garden.
Here is the crinum on its rare best behavior.
Hemerocallis (Daylily) – Oops again! Common names can be confusing. Daylilies are not true lilies.
The garden has three daylilies, gifts from my sister when she took my daughter and me to visit a daylily farm a number of years ago. One red daylily opened yesterday followed by a large, darker one this morning. A tangerine one is always the last to flower and hasn’t opened yet this year.
Two other lilies that are not lilies will be in bloom later:
Lycoris radiata, known as the red spider lily, is a plant in the amaryllis family. It blooms in September.
Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily). Although they are commonly called ginger lily, they are not a true lily (genus Lilium) or a true ginger plant (genus Zingiber). It blooms in late August or sometimes not until October when the frost catches it.
Do you grow a favorite lily or lily-nicknamed flower?