The Lily: Summer Bulb of the Year
Dazzling lilies set off colorful fireworks in the garden. Garden? Yes, in the garden! Many people are familiar with lilies as cut flowers but don’t know that they can also add sparkle to the garden. This is why the lily was selected to be the Summer Bulb of 2018.
Lilies are native to the entire Northern Hemisphere. They have been seen as a flower of significance for thousands of years because of the extensive symbolism that surrounds them. The lily represents femininity, love, purity and a sense of transience. But lilies also have a wonderful history. In 1150, King Louis of France used an image of a lily on his shield as a symbol of his name (Louis or Loys) and power. The Lily is also portrayed as a focal point in many historical paintings.
Lilies are real summer flowers. Their impressive flowers will be glowing in the garden from early June until sometime in September. This is because the many varieties of lilies will bloom in succession throughout that time. If you would like to enjoy lilies in your garden all summer long, here are their flowering periods:
- Early June: Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum), 2 - 3 weeks in bloom
- Mid-June: Asian lilies, 2-3 weeks in full bloom
- Late June: Trumpet lilies, 2 - 4 weeks in bloom
- Early August: Oriental lilies, 3-4 weeks in bloom
- Mid-August: Nepalese lilies, 2-3 weeks in bloom
- September: Speciosum hybrid lilies, 3-4 weeks in bloom
Planting lily bulbs
Maybe you’ve fallen in love with this gorgeous summer bulb of the year and would like to plant it in your garden. If so, just follow these five steps.
- Choose a nice spot for your lilies. They prefer lots of sun, so pick a place that receives hours of sun a day.
- Dig a hole 4 to 6 inches deep. It’s better to plant lily bulbs too deep rather than too shallow since planting them deep keeps them nice and cool and also encourages the development of sturdy stems.
- Loosen the soil at the bottom of the planting hole and place the lily bulbs in the hole. Keep a distance of 6 inches between all the bulbs so that the plants will receive enough sunlight later.
- Cover the hole containing the lily bulbs with soil.
- Give the lily bulbs some water right away. This will ensure that their roots start growing more quickly.
Plant lily bulbs as soon after purchase as possible. The sooner you do this, the better they will grow and the more beautifully they will bloom.
- When you can’t plant your lily bulbs immediately after purchase, store them in a cool, dark place such as in the refrigerator. This will keep shoots from emerging.
- Did you know that the best time of year to plant Madonna lilies and Trumpet lilies is in the fall? This will ensure the best possible flowering display. Other kinds of lilies can be planted in either spring or fall.
- During the flowering season, snip off spent flowers but leave 2/3 of the stem standing. This will keep your lilies strong and healthy for years to come.
- Lily bulbs will also thrive in pots and plant containers. Just be sure that they have holes in the bottom so that excess water can drain away.