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Lilies can last beyond Easter with careful cultivation


Courtesy of Melinda Myers LLC
White lilies are not only ideal for Easter, but they also can grace a garden. Colorful varieties of lilies will provide long-lasting blooms.

Easter is Sunday, so it’s time to display a vase of white lilies. However, lilies can last long beyond Easter if you plant them in your garden.

Lilies provide vertical interest and blend nicely with other perennials. Best of all, with very little care, you’ll be enjoying them for years to come.

Plant different types of lilies to extend your enjoyment into fall.

Long-lasting lilies

Start with Asiatic lilies. These compact plants have upward or outward facing blooms, and though not fragrant, they come in bright colors that will light up your early summer garden. All are hardy in garden zones 4-9.

The next lilies to bloom are LA Hybrids. These trumpet-shaped lilies are a cross between fragrant Easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum) and colorful Asiatics. Choose from an array of rich colors including cream, pink, yellow, orange and red. They are hardy in zones 4-9 as well.

The dainty blossoms of Turk’s Cap lilies open in early summer. Also known as Martagon lilies, these flowers feature recurved petals and look like they are dangling from an upside-down candelabra. Hardy in zones 3-9, these lilies prefer partially shaded gardens and woodland edges.

Trumpet lilies steal the show in midsummer. Like their close relative the Easter lily, these outward-facing blossoms boast long trumpets and are wonderfully fragrant. They are hardy in zones 4-9.

Another group of midsummer lilies are the Oriental-Asiatic hybrids. These have the compact height and outward facing flowers of Asiatics and the larger flowers and heady fragrance of Orientals. Look for the variety Kaveri, which has golden yellow petals touched with tangerine and burgundy. They are hardy in zones 4-9.

Species lilies have downward facing flowers with reflexed petals and extra-long stamens. Bloom times vary. Lady Alice (Lilium henryi) and coral lilies (Lilium pumilum) flower a full month before tiger lilies (Lilium lancifolium). The latter are treasured for their big orange flowers and prominent black spots. Over time, tiger lilies form impressive clumps, with towering 4-foot stems. They are hardy in zones 3-9.

Oriental-Trumpet lilies are hybrids with fragrant, upward-facing flowers that can measure 9 inches across. Colors range from maroon and rose pink to gold and cream. The cool yellow flowers of Yelloween make it a favorite among florists. They are hardy in zones 4-9.

The lily season ends with a bang, when the Oriental lilies begin to bloom. These big, open-faced flowers have a spicy fragrance that can perfume an entire garden. A wide range of colors, including the popular variety Stargazer, invites lots of creative pairings in the garden and in a vase. They are hardy in zones 5-9.

Plant those bulbs

Now is the time to order your lily bulbs. The earlier you shop, the more choices you’ll have. To get your lilies off to a great start, read “Eight Tips for Growing Better Lilies,” available from Longfield Gardens (longfield-gardens.com). Lily bulbs planted this spring will flower this summer and return to bloom again for years to come.

Melinda Myers is the author of more than 20 gardening books. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated “Melinda’s Garden Moment” TV and radio segments. Longfield Gardens commissioned her to write this article. For more information, visit melindamyers.com.

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