Plant Asiatic lilies for easy-care elegance in your garden
Lilies are always welcome additions to any garden; however, due to their elegant appearance, many people think they are hard to grow. Not the Asiatic lily!
If you are looking for a hardy lily for your garden, the Asiatic lily could very well be the answer. Their elegant appearance belies their easy-grow, easy-care attitude. Asiatic lilies were bred to be disease resistant -- they are -- and to be virtually pest-free -- they are that, too. Asiatic lilies are the lilies most frequently used by florists in cut flower arrangements. In addition, these lilies come in a plethora of colors. The only drawback is that they have no scent, which will probably really not bother you as you are enamored by their beauty. This is also one way that you can differentiate them from Oriental lilies with which they are often confused. (Oriental lilies are scented. They are also taller, with Asiatic lilies being short to medium height.)
Asiatic lilies can be planted in either the fall of early spring, which gives them a chance to develop a good root system before they bloom -- usually any time from early/mid- to late-summer; although, Asiatic lilies tend to bloom earlier than Oriental lilies. Whenever you need to divide your lilies -- notably, when they are not blooming as profusely as they once were -- do so in the fall.
Plant your Asiatic lily bulbs deep in rich, well-drained soil. (A good rule of thumb is to plant them wrist deep.) Asiatics like their "heads in the sun, feet in the shade." This means that they should be planted in a sunny spot, preferably where they receive morning sun with some shade in the afternoon, but also mulched well to keep their roots cool. Lilies also tend to be rather drought-tolerant; therefore, you need to water them deeply -- about 15-20 minutes -- about once a week. In addition, I only fertilize mine once a year in the spring with a granular time-released fertilizer. After the blooms are spent, do not cut back the stalks. Instead, allow them to die back naturally. (The bulbs take in nutrients for the next season's blooms through the stems.) If you wish to hide the ugly stems, simply plant an annual vine, such as a morning glory, at the base of the stalk. The vine will climb the stalk, thereby disguising it.
There are numerous Asiatic lilies on the market today. Many can be found at local garden centers, such as Lowe's and Home Depot. More unusual ones can be found at such online sites as White Flower Farm and even on eBay. Some of my favorite Asiatic lilies include the following:
The bloom features a white center with rosy-colored freckles and pink tips. I have literally dozens of blooms on one stalk every year. (Asiatic lilies, by the way, have sturdy stalks and do not need staking.) The blooms also tend to last for about a month.
Another absolute favorite Asiatic lily of mine is the 'Cancun.' This variety features blooms that have golden-yellow throats with deep orange tips. Mine are profuse bloomers, once again with dozens of blooms per stalk that last for quite a long time.
This Asiatic lily is often described as a bright magenta color; however, it is actually almost red. It also has something that most Asiatic lilies do not have and that is a mild fragrance.
For a brilliant orange flower for your garden, you cannot go wrong with 'Orange Trinity.' This is a cross between the Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) and another Asiatic lily called 'Royal Trinity.' The result is a lily that is about as true an orange as I have ever seen. It does not usually get very tall, seldom reaching even 3 feet, which makes it good for the front or middle of the border. Like the 'Dolly Madison,' you will see several blooms on the top of the rather sturdy stems.
Asiatic lilies will reward you with colorful profuse blooms for years. They also make great cut flowers; however, do leave at least a third of the stalk to enable the bulbs to take in nutrients. In addition, they have the advantage of being extremely hardy and extremely easy to grow.
Joined:Sep 7, 2010
I have been gardening for most of my life and completed the TN Master Gardener course a few years ago. Since then, I have been writing gardening articles online in addition to being published in local magazines. I also give gardening talks around my area, helping people to realize that there is no great mystery to being a successful gardener and that even those with brown thumbs can have beautiful gardens.
Copyright © 2000-2013 eBay Inc. All Rights Reserved