THE Lilium, commonly called lilies are bulbous plants grown for ornamental purposes in the garden, in pots and as cut flowers for their royal and elegant design.
Characteristics and generalities of the Lily or Lilium
THE Lilium, are plants belonging to the Liliaceae family originating from Europe, Asia and North America.
They have bulbs made up of numerous flattened scales, slightly sharp and tight to form a central disc with perennial roots in the lower part and an erect and rigid flowering stem in the upper part.
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The 60 to 120 cm long stem is covered with leaves opposite green lanceolate arranged in random order.
The very fragrant flowers they are white, cream, pink, yellow, orange, red, lilac, purple lilies, depending on the variety, have an umbrella-shaped corolla made up of six petals and six stamens ending with red-brown pollen sacs.
Lilies bloom in midsummer and in suitable environmental conditions they can produce flowers practically all year round.
Lilies of all species or varieties love sunny places, sheltered from the winds and are tolerant to cold. In regions with an excessively hot summer climate they can also be placed in partially shaded areas to avoid serious burns to the leaves and to prolong flowering as much as possible.
They are plants that require a soil rich in organic substance, well worked, especially well drained to prevent water stagnation from causing rotting of the bulbs and with neutral or slightly acid pH values. Varieties grown in pots also require other draining material such as gravel to be placed in the bottom of the container (pot or planter).
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They are plants that love humid soils and therefore should be watered regularly but without excesses in the vegetative phase and in the flowering period. too abundant water supplies could cause root rot.
Before planting the bulbs in the ground or in pots, fertilize the soil with mature manure or with specific products for bulbous plants, including slow release granular ones. A fertilizer rich in potassium (K) is also useful once a week.
Lilium bulbs plant
Lilium bulbs, like all bulbous plants, should be planted in autumn or early spring in well-worked soil, soft and rich in organic substance. The bulbs must be implanted with the tip facing upwards in holes 20 – 25 cm deep, 10-15 cm apart.
The Lilium can be planted in the flower beds of the garden with plants that keep the soil moist such as wild Geranium or ground cover daisies.
Lilies multiply by division of the bulbs or by seed.
Reproduction for sowing which must generally be done in autumn, requires a germination period that varies from a few months for some species such as Lilium auratum, canadense and Lilium superbum to a few years such as for example for Lilium regale and longiflorum.
Lilies grown in pots should be repotted when the roots come out of the water drainage holes. Generally the pot must have a diameter of no less than 30 cm and the soil must be new and fresh. A maximum of 3 bulbs per pot can be planted in each pot, which must be planted at the same time as repotting.
Diseases and parasites
Lilies fear the attack of black aphids or lice that form dense blackish colonies on the stems, in the leaf axils and on the still budding flowers. Among the insects, the most feared enemy is the crycerid of the lily, the Lilioceris lilii, a dangerous beetle both at the adult stage and at the larval stage. Lilies are also infested with slugs and snails that are greedy for the most tender and still underdeveloped shoots. They are susceptible to mold infestations of the Penicilium genus which may occur during winter or spring.
Cures and treatments
To prevent mold infestations, it is sufficient to place the bulbs, keeping the bulbs in cool areas and with adequate ventilation. Aphids can be fought with biological pesticides such as the nettle pesticide, the garlic pesticide (outside) or the pyrethrum pesticide.
Variety of lilies
The different species, about 80, are distinguished by color, shape and size of the flowers and by the height of the stems.
Between cultivar more notes to cultivate in the open ground we remember:
A lily with very fragrant petals of pure white color, pink on the reverse with a yellow center. It produces showy flowers from July to August that are used to create magnificent bouquets. In the garden it is used in semi-shady areas to create splendid decorative bushes about 100 cm high.
This species known as Easter lily, is a plant native to Japan widespread in the islands of Taiwan and Ryukyu (Japan). It is a lily that grows up to 1m tall and produces trumpet-shaped, white, fragrant, outward-facing flowers.
Known as the lily of the Madonna or St. Anthony’s lily, it produces large white and very fragrant trumpet flowers that bloom from June to September. It is widely used in gardens as an ornamental plant and easily adapts to any type of soil.
Also known as tiger lily, Lilium lancifolium, in the flaviflorum, splendens and fortunei varieties it produces orange flowers dotted with brownish-black specks. It multiplies by division of the bulbils that form on the stem at the axil of the leaves.
Between species more suitable for cultivation in pots we mention Lilium:
It is very decorative and easy to grow in any type of soil. It produces large fragrant flowers that stand out in their beauty and elegance when paired with Phlox paniculata.
Lilium Pink Perfection
Also known as red trombone, it is a perennial bulbiferous, erect stem with green lanceolate leaves. It grows up to about one meter in height and reproduces thanks to the black bulbils that develop at the axil of the upper leaves. From June to August it produces large, dark red flowers.
A spontaneous species in America, Asia and Europe. It is a perennial bulbiferous plant with cylindrical erect stems, oblong and spatulate or broadly lanceolate leaves. The flowers have deep red, pale pink or purple petals and have curved peduncles and petals.
Lilium Red Carpet
It blooms from August to September. The large and showy flowers have a trumpet shape and the corolla is composed of red petals.
Lilium flowers are used to embellish homes, churches, wedding banquets, for brides’ bouquets and in aromatherapy for its beneficial essences with relaxing power.
Language of flowers
The Lilium especially the white one symbolizes innocence, virginity and candor.
Is Lilium a poisonous plant?
Depending on the variety there is a different degree of toxicity, which is very high in species such as:
They are especially dangerous for small animals such as cats where they can induce kidney failure.
In case of poisoning, immediately go to the vet who will induce vomiting and administer charcoal.
The Lilium by the ancient Greeks and Romans were considered, thanks to their regal bearing, a symbol of divinity and their petals came to stuff pillows and to extract an oil used to perfume the water for the bath.
The lilies were also the flowers loved and portrayed by illustrious and famous painters of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries: Filippo Lippi for example painted the famous triptych of the Madonna of humility where the Virgin is surrounded by eight angels holding white lilies in their hands.