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Lilium (true lilies)
  Catalog | Culture
Solaris Farms sells a wide variety of Lilium plants at the farm during summer bloom season. While most nurseries sell bulbs in the spring or fall of the year, our growing schedules do not allow us this luxury.  Fortunately, these plants have proven to be very easy to successfully move during this period of time for farm customers.  This group of plants has some of the showiest flowers of any plant genera and should be included in every northern garden.  On the downside, Lilium have less pest tolerance than our other specialties, thus we cannot guarantee them once they leave the farm.

We typically stock 60+ cultivars which are field grown or containerized and trialed at the farm.  Plants are of blooming size, but are generally not more than a couple years in age.  In our display gardens many large established plants can be viewed and enjoyed.  Older plants seldom are available due to sales demand for larger sizes.  All plants are healthy and free of virus and other diseases that often afflict Lilium. 

Most Lilium cultivars bloom for approximately 2 to 3 weeks during summer.  Planting a variety of different cultivars can allow the gardener to enjoy these plants in flower through much of the summer.

We grow many Martagon, Orienpet (oriental x trumpet), Asiatic and LA (longifolium x asiatic) Lilium.  These plants have proven to be reliable growers for us and customers have had much success with them.  Solaris Farms often has a few other hybrid types and species available in limited numbers as well.

Martagon lilies are among the best choices for Wisconsin garden due to their hardy bulbs and ability to be planted in shady areas.  The plants produce large numbers of flowers that generally face downward and are carried on sturdy stems.  Flowers often have a spicey sent and bloom at the end of June here.  They are more expensive, but are longer lived than most other lilies.

The Orienpet hybrids are generally tall sturdy growers and have a wonderful fragrance.  These are often marketed as 'Tree Lilies', but in truth are only very sturdy growers that need little if any support.  Flower size is often very large and have excellent longevity on the plants.  These plants typically bloom at the end of July and into August here in Wisconsin. 

The Asiatic group is the hardiest of the Lilium group here in Wisconsin.  Different cultivars exhibit a wide range of flower color, size and carriage.  Almost all bloom early in the summer season (late June into mid July).  Few have any fragrance, but are spectacular in the number of flowers they produce.  Some plants produce upward facing flowers, others downward (Turks cap) and are useful as centerpieces or accents in the garden, depending on their specific flowering characteristics.   We no longer sell this group due to their mass availability elsewhere.

The LA, LO (longiflorum x oriental) and other hybrid groups range in flower size and color widely as well, but many are often fragrant.  This group tends to flower after the Asiatics (with some exceptions) and before the Orienpets.  Flowers often have unique coloration and are generally outward or upward facing. Hardiness has been generally good with the exception of a few of LOs.  LOs produce huge Easter lily type flowers, but lack hardiness in very cold winters.  Customers that have protected gardens have reported good results with LOs though.  Given favorable conditions LOs can be grown in Wisconsin with a bit more care in siting.   

While a few oriental types grow well in Wisconsin, many do not--thus we avoid stocking these for sale.  Orientals bloom late in the season, have wonderful fragrance and often have very large ornate flowers.  Some gardeners report good results with these as well, but for many they are a short-term perennial.  This group is characterized by 'Stargazer' type flowers.  We recommend the Orienpet group as a superior alternative to these plants.

Occasionally we have for sale trumpets or auralien Lilium.  We've had good success growing these types, but they are typically difficult to stock in the field due to their need of support.  These plants are in high demand and we generally have only a few to offer every few years.

Lilium are the favored garden food plant of rabbits, deer and mice.  When these mammalian pests are present, the plants are often eaten as they begin initial growth above ground in the spring, destroying the flowers for the year.  The bulb generally survives, to arise the following year (although a bit weaker).  Protection of some form should be provided if these nuisances are common in the garden.

Late spring frosts may also be problematic for gardeners that grow Lilium.  Freezing temperatures often damage plants early and cause foliage and stems to become susceptible to fungal diseases, resulting in early dormancy and loss of seasonal growth.  The bulbs will generally survive to come up the following season, producing somewhat weaker plants for the year. 

Frost and animal damage can be quite disappointing, but most seasoned gardeners are willing to accept these risks due to the beauty of the flowers.  Gardeners who prefer a more consistent bloom from year to year may want to consider daylilies, but we think Lilium are worth the little extra effort and patience.

Copyright © 2000-2019, Nate Bremer, Solaris Farms, All rights reserved.