Asiatic and Oriental Hybrid lilies (Lilium)

Quick facts and care essentials

• True bulb
• All zones
• Full sun or partial shade
• Regular watering; never let root zone dry out

Asiatic Hybrid lilies bloom in early summer on strong, erect stems 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 feet tall. The 4- to 6-inch blossoms come in colors ranging from white through yellow and orange to pink and red. The Oriental Hybrids bloom later, in midsummer to early fall. Their 2- to 6-foot stems bear big (to 9-inch), fragrant flowers with pink or white petals marked with center stripes and speckles.

Plant bulbs as soon as possible after you get them, since they do not store well. If you must delay, store them in a cool place. Before planting, check bulbs carefully; if they look shriveled, place them in moist sand or peat moss until the scales plump up and roots start to form.

Space bulbs 1 foot apart. Cover smaller bulbs with 2 to 3 inches of soil, medium-size ones with 3 to 4 inches, and larger ones with 4 to 6 inches. Viral (mosaic) infection is an incurable problem; to avoid it, buy healthy bulbs from reliable sources. Destroy any lilies that have mottled leaves or are seriously stunted.