While many plants are referred to as lilies, only the true lilies belong to the genus Lilium. Genuine lilies have rigid stems, with large, striking, colourful flowers, which can be shaped like a trumpet, bowl or bell.
The Asiatic lily, considered the easiest species to grow, typically bloom the earliest. American hybrids grow tall, with colours ranging from yellows to oranges, reds, browns and pinks. Oriental hybrids' time typically bloom in the late summer, and most varieties possess a sweet fragrance. The Candidum hybrid group, though small, includes one of the oldest known hybrid lilies, the Nankeen lily.
Throughout history, the lily flower has represented both purity and innocence. Works of prose, Greek mythology and famous works of art reference the lily, as well as both the Old and New Testament.
Lily flowers, relatively easy to grow, prefer mild temperatures. They like good drainage, moderately acidic soil, plenty of water, full sun and mild amounts of phosphorus rich fertiliser. Most varieties prefer to be planted at depths of 4 to 5 inches, and in colder climates, you must provide winter mulching.
By removing the expired flowers, a process referred to as deadheading, you can assure your lily flowers bloom consistently throughout out the summer. Although lilies remain relatively pest free, aphids, slugs and snails can be an occasional problem. Placing a live bait trap, such a shallow bowl filled with beer, can trap both slugs and snails. Remove aphids by spraying the underside of the leaves with a mild soap and water solution.
Since some varieties of lily flowers do not keep long as a cut flower, pick them right as they bud. Lilies exist in hundreds of different species. A true blue colour is the only colour that does not exist in the lily family. The Easter lily has been used as an anti-inflammatory in folk medicine. All parts of the daylily can be eaten.
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