Lily - Lilium

Lily or Lilium

Name: Lilium
Common name: Giglio
Family: Liliaceae
Bulb type: non tunic bulb
Bulb size: from 10/12 cm up to 16 cm
Liliums are perennial bulbous plants that develop one or more stems with different leaves depending on the variety. The flowers are carried on top and are in bunches. They usually have a more or less elongated trumpet shape. The colors are many: white, red, pink, yellow, orange. Some species are very fragrant.The flower is umbrella-shaped and is white in color. It is delicately scented. The flowering period is summer, however, if the bulb has been treated, it blooms all year.

Plant characteristics

It can reach a height of 100/125 cm. The leaves are green.

Cultivation methods

Soil: It must be well drained and must have a good percentage of organic substance.
Planting period: Autumn or spring
Depth of planting: The bulb must be placed at a depth of 2 cm; leave a space of 10/15 cm between the bulbs.
Light: Full sun.


THE lilium they have endemic species almost all over the world. In Italy 6 species grow spontaneously: L. martagon, L. pomponium, L. candidum, l. bulbiferum, l. serotina, L. graeca.


In general, the lilies like a half-shade exposure. With too much light and heat their blooms are likely to last a short time. If, on the other hand, the shadow is predominant, we risk making them little luxuriant and floriferous.


The liliums want less moist soils and avoid water stagnation

Cultivation in the open ground

The cultivation of these bulbs is simple: the ideal is to plant them in the spring to flower at the height of summer.
As with all bulbous plants, it is extremely important that the soil is worked in depth. It must therefore be dug up to at least four times the height of the bulbs. In this way it will be very easy for the bulbs to extend the roots in depth and to anchor well to the ground. Another fundamental rule is to implant them at least three times deeper than the height of the bulb.
Between one plant and another it is better to leave at least twice the diameter of the bulb. If the plant is of a variety that tends to become very high it would be better to leave even more space.
However, their cultivation is among the simplest. It is important to choose bulbs that are heavy, whose scales are intact and without signs of mold. It is also good practice to cut the withered flowers to prevent the plant from going to seed. This would lead her to employ many forces in vain and weaken the bulb.
After this operation all that remains is to continue with the fertilizations and wait for the stem to dry and then tear it off.

Use in the garden

A good idea is to plant the lilies in groups of at least three. Keep in mind that if we plan to remove them from the ground at each end of the season we will be able to afford to plant them closer together. If instead we think of leaving them undisturbed even for 5 or 6 years it is advisable to distance them more. If the bulbous plants are well, in fact, they tend to widen: having available space will allow us to thin out the interventions.
They can be very effective when combined with shrubs (such as roses), grasses or perennial grasses. They are also very good near the Hemerocallis, whose flowers are very similar to those of the lilies. Of course it is a good idea to create borders or flowerbeds that group bulbous or rhizomatous with summer flowering.
Another good idea is to place them at the base of the vines. With their leaves they will hide the base which is often bare and unsightly.
A nice advantage of these bulbous plants is that they rarely disturb nearby plants with vegetation or roots. In addition, the aerial part is very vertical. They are excellent to insert therefore also in the narrow spaces between the vegetation.


Almost all varieties prefer a deep and fresh soil. Ideally it is neutral or slightly acid. The soil must be rich in nutrients and therefore it is important to intervene often with a good seasoned manure. An excellent idea is to intervene also with a fertilizer for flowering plants for the whole vegetative period until the stems are completely dried. This will favor the enlargement of the bulb: therefore we will have luxuriant plants and many small cloves to proceed with the multiplication. Most lilies are rustic and therefore do not need to be taken from the ground before the bad season.

Pot cultivation

If you choose to grow the lilium in a vase, you must choose one that is at least 35-40 cm deep.
In this case it is better that the plant is kept strictly in partial shade because too much light and heat could severely damage both the flowers and the leaves and cause an early drying of the plant. To obtain a good aesthetic result it is advisable that the bulbs are planted very thick (without however touching each other). In this way the vase will look very full. On the other hand it is advisable in this case to extract our bulbs from the pot every year.
An important tip is to control the irrigation even more, avoiding both water stagnation and excessive dryness of the substrate.


Eastern Lilium
They have decorative and very elegant flowers in various colors. They also have a very sweet scent. They bloom in the second half of the summer.
They prefer a sunny exposure and are perhaps among the least rustic. It is therefore advisable to remove them from the soil at the end of the season and store them in a cool, dry place.
Lilium Tigrinum
They have flowers in the shape of a flattened trumpet, with the tepals facing the back. They are characterized by long leaves and numerous dots on the tepals. Another important characteristic is that the flowers are pendulous and this makes them particularly graceful. They are not very fragrant, but have very elegant colors and poise. In general the stem is very high (even more than 1 meter) and they are very rustic, so they do not need to be picked up in winter.
Lilium a trumpet
They have very elongated trumpet-shaped flowers of very varied colors: white, pink, yellow, red. Their scent is intoxicating and they are further decorated with very long and showy stamens. They are often more than a meter tall and therefore it is better to arrange guardians in time. They need good fertilizing to stimulate flowering.
They are fairly rustic and in our country, especially if planted in depth (as we should do), they do not need to be picked up during the cold season.
There are also numerous hybrids among the various species and it is often difficult to make a good classification.
Interesting hybrids
Allegra: oriental hybrid, with curved tepals, apple green.
Black dragon: trumpet, white and purple red.
Corsage: back tepals, ivory and pink.
Perfect Pink: trumpet, pink, very elegant and fragrant.
Royal: trumpet, white with yellow center. Very fragrant
Speciosum Rubrum: petals turned backwards, crimson red dotted darker. Awarded with the RHS Award.
Lilium Yellow Tiger: tepals turned backwards, bright yellow and dotted red. Very resistant to frost
Honeydew: trumpet flowers, yellow-green, 15 flowers per stem.
Sonata: pendulous flowers with curved, orange and pink sepals. Carries about 10 flowers per stem and reaches 150 cm in height.


The simplest and fastest reproduction of lilies is via agamic. There are several ways:
- You can take the bulbs that are produced next to the major bulb.
- Some species produce bulbils in leaf axils
- Dividing into flakes a large bulb and burying them separately in a wet substrate.
In general, it takes 4 years to get the first flowers.
The reproduction through seed is even longer: it takes at least 6 years before seeing its flowering.

Harmful insects

The sworn enemy of the lilies is the beetle Lilioceris lilii (crioceride of the lily): they are specialized insects that live almost exclusively on these plants. Both the adults and the larvae feed on their leaves and can cause very serious damage: the plants can be greatly weakened and even die.
We need to intervene as soon as we notice its appearance. If they are few, you can act manually. Otherwise it is good to use an active insecticide against pests.
They can also be attacked by aphids. The damage they generally cause is not serious. They are carriers of virosis both to this and to other plants. It is therefore always better to try to remedy infestations. They can be attached to the base by nematodes. In this case at the hobbyist level, prevention is especially important: prepare a well-drained soil and avoid exaggerating with irrigation. It is always better to wait until the substrate is dry before using it again. Small plants can also be damaged in spring by slugs or snails. The ideal is to periodically check the base of the plants. In case of heavy rains or infestations it is good to intervene with specific baits.

Lily - Lilium: Molds and cryptogamic problems

It is necessary to have some care for storage: it is not uncommon during the winter and spring on the bulbs taken from the ground to develop molds belonging to the genus Penicillium. In order to avoid this it is of paramount importance to keep the bulbs in fresh and ventilated rooms. Furthermore it is good that they are surrounded by insulating and absorbent materials such as wood chips or cardboard or even vermiculite. If the air humidity is very high, young plants can also be affected by Botrytis. To prevent it it is important that the irrigations are controlled. If the problem becomes evident you can intervene with a specific anticryptogamic.
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Family and gender

Fam. Liliaceae
Type of plantPerennial bulbs
ExposureHalf shade
RusticitŠ°Rustiche (in general)
GroundLoose, neutral or sub-acid, rich, well-drained
colorsWhite, pink, yellow, red, orange
IrrigationAverage. Avoid water stagnation.
fertilizingFrom April to September
FloweringFrom June to September
HeightFrom 50 cm to 1 m
PropagationSeed, division of bulbs, planting of bulbils