All About Asiatic and Oriental Lily

By Allyn Paul, filed under Landscape Tips, Planting Flower Bulbs.

yellow asiatic lily, full bloom JulyI’d like to introduce you to my newest “favorite” summer flower in the garden, the Asiatic Lily.
If you’ve visited this blog before, then you know how much I love stella de oro daylilies. However, Stella is not a true “lily.” In addition, calla lily, toad lily, and surprise lily are not “true lilies” either.
“True lilies” are members of the genus Lilium. They originate from underground bulbs and produce large, showy blossoms in the summer. True lilies are excellent plants for almost any┬álandscaped area. They are versatile and easy to care for, and offer a wide variety of heights, flower forms, and colors. I have recently begun to grow true Asiatic lilies as a way to increase my garden’s “flower power” during the hotter summer months here in the Midwest.

grouping of pinks at Dave's house

The Best Ways to Grow Lilies in Your Garden

Asiatic and Oriental Lilies will bring beauty, color and fragrance to your garden for many years with very little maintenance. If you do your research, you can purchase varieties that bloom in early June, while others flower in July and August, still others into September.

Traditionally, gardeners purchase lilies as bulbs which are planted in Fall, but I have had great luck buying ones grown in pots over at Home Depot or Lowe’s. I just look for ones that are about to bloom, dig a hole, plant them and leave them alone. This way I get instant lily flowers, and the next year they return in greater grandeur!

Another great way to start your Asiatic lily collection is to “steal” them from friends and family. The Asiatics pictured here are from my friend Dave’s house. He got most of these from his mom’s already established lily garden. He just waited until fall, dug up the bulbs from her plants, split them and took the “daughter” bulbs home and planted them! Viola! Free lilies! He’s got multiple varieties growing alongside his back deck where they peer through the railing while making a nice border to his nice lawn! (gotta love that lawn too!) Thanks Dave!

more variety from my friend Dave

Planting Asiatic lily bulbs in the fall time is nearly fool proof. Dig a hole about 6 inches deep, drop them in and cover with fresh soil and mulch. Even if you plant them upside down, they will grow perfectly the next year!

Lily Care

It is best to choose a well-drained location with at least half a day of sunshine. If it’s too shady, the stems will stretch and lean towards the sun, whereas I prefer my lilies to remain compact. Most Asiatics top out around 3′ tall while Orientals grow taller.

Lilies love full sun, as long as the bulbs are deep enough to keep cool when temperatures rise above 85 degrees. They should also be mulched over during the long Chicagoland winter.

Look for a spot that is the first to dry out after rain. Lilies can be bothered by fungus that spots the leaves in prolonged cool, wet weather. If you do see brown spots on the leaves, use any fungicide recommended for roses.

Be sure to cut back lily stems when they turn yellow later in the season after the bulbs have been recharged by photosynthesis. You can also fertilize your lilies (bulbs) in the fall using bone meal and a scattering of Milorganite. Composted leaves from Oak or Ash trees work well also and provide protection from harsh winter freezes.

pink and white lilies in Dave's back yard

Lilies will gradually increase (naturalize) by division of the large main bulbs and by growth of small bulbs along the old below-ground stem. If the clumps that form become too thick to make large stems, lift and divide them in September or October.

Here is a list of some more common Asiatic and Oriental lilies by name, color, their normal full grown heights, and when they bloom in the Midwest zone 5:

“Enchantment” orange, 2 – 3′ June
“Connecticut King” yellow, 3 – 4′ June
“Corsica” pink, 3′ June/July
“Crete Asiatic” deep pink, 3 – 4′ June/July
“Dawn Star” cream 2 – 3′ July

“Black Beauty” dark red, 5 – 6′ July/August
“Journey’s End” deep pink, 4 – 5′ August
“Stargazer” crimson-red, 2 – 3′ August
“Yellow Ribbons” white/yellow, 3 – 5′ August
“Casa Blanca” pure white 4 – 5′ August/September


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23 Responses to “All About Asiatic and Oriental Lily”

  1. rick Says:
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    I planted 3 Asiatic Lilly plants that I bought in pots at Lowe’s about ready to bloom and they bloomed great but now all the blooms are gone. My question is what do I do with them now? anything? or just leave them alone? Will there be more blooms this year? I planted them along with some bushes and covered the area with landscaping tarp then gravel. My other question is are these things going to try to spread out more and will that gravel I covered the ground with cause them any problems or just keep coming back each spring the way they are ??

  2. Allyn Paul Says:
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    Hi Rick, great questions…
    The lilies will not flower again, but you need to leave the spiky foliage there until it naturally turns yellow in the fall…once it goes yellow, cut it to the ground.
    The reason you leave the green stalks is photosynthesis that will recharge the bulb underground. You may also notice some plump seed heads growing where the flowers were once… you can cut the seed heads off if you like to conserve the plants energy)
    As far as your gravel and matting…
    If you used pea gravel, it will not interfere with the natural spreading of the lily. But if you have course lava rock or large river stones, they will hamper or maybe kill the plant…same with the black weed matting.

  3. Pages tagged "showy" Says:
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    [...] bookmarks tagged showy All About Asiatic and Oriental Lily saved by 3 others     kadi1993 bookmarked on 07/11/08 | [...]

  4. Rose Of Sharon: Late Summer Flower Power! | Life and Lawns Says:
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    [...] now later July, and my Asiatic and Oriental lilies are beginning to fade, but my Gladiolas have not yet bloomed, so what is the DIY gardener to do? [...]

  5. kelly Says:
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    Help.Have been trying to self diagnose my the problem with my lilies.Not sure if they are oriental or asiatic.They are a fuschia in center almost the whole petal but r trimmed in light pink.Smell like a beautiful bottle of perfume.Had them about 4 yrs. and this year they have half burnt and the 2 blooms there are have white fungus going up them almost looks like maggots but arent.I think its the viruses ive seen online but if u could give me a diagnoses and what do i do i would truely appreciate it.I hope they can be saved.thanks.

  6. Allyn Paul Says:
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    Hi kelly,
    sounds like a type of beetle larva. I like Immunox by spectricide available at home depot. it will wipe out insect and fungus problems and won’t harm the lilys.
    are you getting a lot of humidity and rain?

  7. Kathy Says:
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    I have planted lilies in a butterfly garden and discovered that they grow about 5 feet tall! I didn’t realize they would grow so tall and they fall over even with stakes. Is there a time of year that I can cut them back to reduce the overall height without affecting their bloom?

  8. allyn paul Says:
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    Hi Kathy,
    Most Asiatics don’t get more than 3 feet tall.
    You must have Orientpet lily or Trumpet lily.
    Those get around 5-6 feet tall in full sun. You can’t cut them back or “bonsai” them, sorry.

    Best advice: dig up the bulbs in fall and move them somewhere else and get true Asiatic lily.

  9. jacky Says:
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    I just bought a asiatic lily plant at lowes. The problem im having is that the actually flower leaves are falling off. Is this typical?

  10. Allyn Paul Says:
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    Hi Jacky,
    I do not quite know what you are getting at. What are “flower leaves?”
    If you can send me a pic on my contact form, I can help you!

  11. Louise Fontecchio Says:
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    I bought several gorgeous “lilly looks” asiatic lillies at Home Depot. The info on the pot said they would bloom all summer, but the buds that were on them when I bought them have bloomed and now died, and I don’t see any other buds. Can I do anything to get them to keep blooming? I was planning to cut the dead blooms off, but the petals all fell off before I got out there with my shears.

  12. Allyn Paul Says:
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    Hi Louise,
    sorry to tell you that they won’t bloom again until next year. Probably once they establish in your home landscape, you may get a little longer bloom than you did this year, but nothing like “all summer.”
    best thing to do is buy other asiatics and orientals that have a later and/or earlier bloom time and mix them all together!
    best of luck,

  13. Micheal Says:
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    I have some asiatic lilies planted in my front landscaping. They get plenty of sun and the area drains well. I’ve noticed that on a few of them the flower bud has turned black. These lilies were in the same spot last year and performed very well. Any idea?

  14. Darlene Says:
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    I have had oriental lilies that won’t grow out of the ground. I dug up two today and they are very large but no growth at the top. What could be the problem??

  15. Allyn Paul Says:
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    if you have large river rocks or lava rocks in your beds, that will kill the lilly growth.

  16. Allyn Paul Says:
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    it is probably an insect feeding on them and you are seeing the frass. I recommend a general landscape insect spray

  17. Darlene Says:
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    I have no river rocks or lava rocks in my bed. Also, the bulbs that do no grow, are in perfect condition. I am very puzzled as to what the problem is. These bulbs have been in the ground for three years and this is the first year they haven’t sprouted. Like I said, they are very large but no growth. These bulbs are not in a boggy area or have any insects in them. Can anyone give me any answers as to what is going on??

  18. joanne m w. Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    I have found useful info but I haven’t seen this yet — I trimmed off the plump seed heads so can I try to plant these inside or outside and grow new plants ? If so, how should I do this ?

  19. Allyn Paul Says:
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    Hi Joanne,
    the plump seed heads will produce seed you can plant, but you have to let them completely dry up and turn brown on the stem, then pick them and pull the seeds out. the seed will need to be started in a small pot inside

  20. lily Says:
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    does anyone know the best remdy for voles? They’ve been digging my lily bulbs and eating them. Thanks.

  21. Allyn Paul Says:
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    yes, check out this posting here http://lifeandlawns.com/2008/04/26/moles-in-your-lawn-and-how-to-get-rid-of-them/
    you can see the products I recommend that work well. you have chemical control and also sound control. you can choose your best weapon to save your lillies.

  22. Levi Says:
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    Hello I got some Oriental Lilies bulbs @ Home Depot they grew but did not bloom (Hoping for next year). Question is all along the upper stem are little purple pods that almost look like mini bulbs. I broke one off and it didn’t look like there would be seeds in it. Any ideas?

  23. Allyn Paul Says:
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    Hi Levi, those are indeed seed pods, but they are just not mature yet. personally, I would pull them off so the plant can use energy for other purposes rather than producing seds. If you are gonna try to harvest seeds from them, the pods need to fully mature, dry up and fall off..that’s when the seeds are viable.

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