Summer flowering lilies

Summer-flowering, lilies are mostly hardy, bulbous plants grown for their beautiful and varied blooms. There are some 80 species with numerous hybrids. Tall varieties suit wide mixed borders; dwarf ones suit rockeries.

Suitable site and soil. Plant in a well-drained sunny site. As they grow, other plants will provide dappled shade. Modern lily hybrids are tolerant of most soils.

Cultivation and care. Plant from late summer to spring. Cover with at least 15cm – 6in soil. Water well and regularly in summer and apply a liquid feed. Stake tall specimens in spring. Remove faded blooms to encourage flowering.

Propagation. Increase from seed, bulb divisions, bulb scales or bulbils. All require special procedures.

Recommended varieties. L. candidum (Madonna lily) is lime tolerant. Its pure white, trumpet-shaped flowers are fragrant. L. henryi (Henry’s lily) grows to 3m – 10ft with orange flowers. Its petals curve back in turk’s cap shape. L. lancifolium (syn. L.tigrinum) (tiger lily) grows to 1.5m – 5ft and produces orange turk’s cap flowers with brown spotting. L. longijlorwn (Easter lily) grows to a modest lm – 3ft and has white, fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers in summer but needs winter protection. L. ‘Imperial Crimson’ has flattish shaped flowers with pink spotting on the petals; ‘Connecticut King’ has open, upward-facing yellow flowers.

Pests and diseases. Lily beetle larvae damage leaves, stems and buds. Botrytis causes leaf and stem damage.


When plants are dormant, remove healthy scales from bulbs. Plant in trays of peat and sand in a cold frame. Tiny new bulbs form at base of scales.

Pot and grow on in a frame for three years.

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