Lily Delirium



July 20: A towering Asiatic named ‘Pink Giant’


July 25: Longiflorum lilies


July 25: Oriental ‘Tom Pouce.’  If I had to pick just one…


July 25: Oriental ‘Time Out’


July 28: Oriental ‘Casablanca’, the classic white


July 28: ‘Black Beauty’.  On the other hand, maybe I’d pick this one…

Still to come, ‘Journey’s End’–just opening today.


  1. My faves are one I forgot the name of and don’t remember planting, Silk Road, Black Beauty and henryi. Where do you buy yours? How many years do they last before they disappear? Or don’t they? Or hasn’t it been long enough?

    Have you had any issues with beetle or disease?

  2. Quoting from the previous post: “‘Orientals really like acidic soil,’ she explains. ‘Lilies don’t like clay, period. Or pure sand–they need some organic matter.'” I have acid clay. Michele, you have sandy soil, right? I bought 2 dozen from White Flower Farm ten years ago. I still have four of them. They have never gotten that tall, though some are getting thicker. I don’t think they’ve ever had as many blossoms as their first year. I tried to plant them deeply in richly amended soil, but I haven’t babied them since. No water in droughts, no fertilizer, etc. But if I ever plant more, I wonder if adding a lot of sand would help? Anyone know?

  3. Nice post. Great photos.

    I need another species obsession like I need a hole in my head. Digitalis, Delphinium, Berberis, Hydrangea, Basils…

    and now I find myself thinking: “These lilies are rather curious.” Between my garden and my books and sailing… this is getting bad. I suspect I have some idea how a crack addict must feel.

    So… thank you for a great post and thank for further tempting me.

  4. Please stop with the lilies — I’m so very envious of anyone who has them. They are so tricky down here — dang it.

  5. Many of my lilies are twice as tall as the catalogs say–in sandy soil that I try to add good stuff to.

    Until Lilies From The Valley goes American, Brent and Becky’s gets my lily order. They send really big, fresh bulbs.

  6. Kathy, I think exposure and drainage have a lot to do with it. Lilies are great in pots for that reason–but also, the ones closest to the species–henryi, Black Beauty, speciosum rubrum–might be easier for less than perfect conditions.

    I have amended clay and I do fine with them. I think they’re pretty easy plants. Mine will never be that tall. But I couldn’t live without them.

    White Flower Farms? Overrated. I never order from them anymore. They have sent me some bad plants.

  7. I love asiatic lilies, but never grow them anymore. Here in Massachusetts, we have adorable little red bugs called “lily beetles,” which live their whole lives while devouring your lily plants, leaf, bud and stem. They mate while eating. Their sludge-like larvae are born eating. You end up with oozing stumps instead of fragrant stars. It sucks.

    The only way I know of to keep these not completely adorable bugs off your plants (besides unsightly netting or spending all day, every day, picking them off whenever they appear) is the use of persistent chemical pesticides, which is simply not ever going to happen in my yard. I would be interested in learning an organic method of repelling them consistently that doesn’t involve me standing next to the plants all day for a month.


  8. Oh, sigh, I envy your lily-loving soil. Mine struggle in this clay; it doesn’t matter how much of that coveted compost I give them.

    But tell me: maybe I am just impatient? This is year 3 for the gardens but only year 2 for most of the lilies.

  9. El, mine look amazing the year after I plant them.

    I could never grow lilies in my old garden, which had nice clay loam. I think sandy soil is the key to my success here, not any kind of good management. Take Elizabeth’s advice, maybe, and stick them in pots.

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