1. What species of lilies have scent? Oriental or Asian Lilies
2. How do lilies grow from a bulb or rhizome?
3. When should I divide the lilies, spring or fall?
Now how did you do? Here are the answers.
1. Fragrant white Easter lily trumpets, spicy "Stargazer" lilies, tall perfumed yellow Oriental lilies -- most people have had an experience with scented lilies. Not all lilies are fragrant, and some have scents that people consider overwhelming. About 445 species of true lilies (Lilium species) exist, all members of the lily family and most with either trumpet shapes or nodding downturned flowers. Hybridizers interbred wild lilies for thousands of dazzling cultivars, with new hybrids introduced annually. So I would say
a. Oriental Lilies. Whoops found more cultivars that are fragrant.
b. Candidum Hybrids Called Madonna lilies, the parent species has clusters of 2- to 3-inch white flowers on long stalks that emerge from an evergreen clump of leaves. Native to southwestern Asia, Madonna lily has become naturalized in Mediterranean countries. Flowers are very fragrant. Hybrids have larger flowers in red, yellow to orange and yellow to tan. Cultivars include "Zeus," with red flowers, and "Apollo," with apricot-flushed tan flowers. "June Fragrance" has creamy white flowers. Madonna lilies grow well in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 6 through 9 but survive in zone 5 with winter protection.
c. Longiflorum Hybrids The pure white, fragrant, potted or cut flowers of some Longiflorum hybrids are commonly called Easter lilies. L. longiflorum and L. formosanum are the main parents for these hybrids. There are usually two to three flowers per stem, and often multiple bulbs are planted in each pot. These plants are used mostly by commercial growers rather than home gardeners, and they are hardy in USDA zones 7 through 9. Some varieties are less fragrant than others.
d. Trumpet and Aurelian Hybrids Trumpet and Aurelian lilies rise dramatically to 8 feet and often need staking. They are the result of interbreeding Chinese species of trumpet lilies. Usual flower colors are white, yellow, gold, pink, red and orange. Some varieties have purple, red or brown on the reverse of the petals. Nearly all of these hybrids are fragrant. Varieties that have turned-back petals are "Copper King" and "Bright Star," as well as the "Golden Splendor" group of hybrids. "African Queen" flowers have a purple exterior and yellow-gold interior; "Black Dragon" is white inside and red-purple outside. This group of lilies is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9.
e. Finally the Oriental Hybrids Also growing to 8 feet, although 4 to 6 feet is more common, Oriental hybrids have large fragrant flowers in mid- to late summer. They come from crossing Asian species, mostly L. japonicum, L. auratum and L. speciosum. The plants grow in USDA zones 5 through 9 and can grow in zones 3 through 4 with winter protection. "Casablanca" is one of the most popular Oriental hybrids, with 10-inch-wide fragrant white flowers. "Stargazer" is in demand as a cut flower, as well as a garden subject, with vivid darker pink speckles against a rosy background and a beautiful fragrance.
2. Bulbs is the answer so plant the bulbs 4" to 6" deep; they are not fussy about this, but they do like to stay cool in the summer, so deeper planting is fine. The stem that pops out of the ground will grow roots above the bulb, before it emerges from the soil, so deeper-planted bulbs will be really well anchored, with roots above and below the bulb. Another way to accomplish deeper planting is to make a raised bed, with the lily bulbs at ground level and the soil planted 4" to 6" or deeper on top of them. This also assures superb drainage, which is important for lilies. Give them enough elbow room, too--a radius of at least 6" per bulb gives each stem its own spot in the sun. Loosen the soil a bit below the bulb level, pat down the soil over the bulb, and wait for warm weather to do its magic.
3. Lilies will gradually increase by division of the large main bulbs and by growth of small bulbs along the old below-ground stem. If the clumps that form become too thick to make large stems, lift and divide them in September or October.
Have a safe 4th of July till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse