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Lily Garden Gifts for all Ages

Lilies glow with beauty, exude fragrance and deliver powerful color. Globally, the lily ranks fourth in popularity and children and adults alike enjoy the satisfaction of lily propagation. The lily provides a diversity of color, shape and fragrance. People enjoy using them to decorate in borders or use their varying heights to design a focal point for a garden. Multiple species of lilies exist, hold different meanings and require different levels of care.

What are Lilies?

Lilies are a flowering plant species of the family Liliaceae and genus Lilium. Scientists have identified roughly 110 species. The lily holds a special place in gardens, world culture and literature. For example, the fleur-de-lis, a historical symbol associated with French monarchy, is a formalize depiction of a lily (fleur- means âflower and -lis means lily in French). In addition, the color of a lily holds different meanings in multiple cultures: orange lilies represent passion; white lilies, virginity; and yellow lilies, cheerfulness.

People use multiple lily varieties in gardens. The types of lilies include Martagon, Pseudolirium, Liriotypus, Archelirion, Sinomartagon, Leucolirion and Daurolirion, to name a few.

Different Species of Lilies

The different species of lilies offer a wide range of options that create varying degrees of height, fragrance and color in the garden. Generally, people use hybrid plants for their gardens, which horticulturists identify by division, a method that helps people identify a hybrid parent form. For example, Division VI are trumpet forms, derived from Asiatic species, such as L. aurelianse. Division IX includes naturally occurring species.

Similar to many plant naming habits, people call some flowers from other plant families lilies. For example, many people call the daylily (hemerocallis) a lily, although this plant is not of the genus Lilium. Understanding the differences between true lilies and other plants makes the difference between growing a healthy garden and disaster. The true lily grows from a corm or bulb planted in the soil during the off-season. Some popular garden lily species include the golden-rayed lily of Japan (Lilium auratum), tiger lily (Lilium lancifolium), Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum), Turkey cap (Lilium martagon) and the Japanese lily (Lilium speciosum).

Growing Lilies

Lilies come from many places across the globe and each requires care and growing techniques that promote healthy plants. Soil preparation represents an important concern when growing lilies. The plants stay in the ground for years and improving the soil promotes health plants. Using organic materials from a compost heap, yard rakings or the kitchen can help improve soils that contain clay or sand.

Gardeners should select a site that receives full sun during the morning and partial shade in the afternoon. Bulbs should be planted roughly 12 to 18 inches apart, depending on the cultivar. Holes for each bulb should not exceed two and a half times the height of each bulb. The roots of the lily pull the plant to the correct depth; planting too deep can cause problems. Mulching the garden in spring will prevent the bulbs from getting too hot and keep the soil moist.

Propagating lilies is simple for the beginning gardener. The division process helps thin out overcrowded beds and produce new plants in another location. Spindly or leggy looking stems and overcrowding indicate the need for division. Gardeners can carefully dig around each lily clump and gently remove the bulbs from the soil. The bulblets, or baby bulbs, are attached to the older bulbs and can be removed by gently breaking them apart. Once the division is complete, the gardener should return the original bulbs to their location and plant the new ones in another area.

Lilies Plant Care

Lilies are simple to care for. Watering should reach deep enough into the soil to surround the bulb. Using a balanced fertilizer once a month should keep them healthy during the growing season. Stems and foliage that yellow or age should be removed.

Other Uses of Lilies

People use lilies for a number of reasons. The oil of the lily serves multiple purposes, including dry elbows, hot-oil treatment for the hair, moisturizer and massage. Some people use lilies as root vegetables, to thicken soups or as health food. The Japanese use lily root in a savory egg custard called chawan-mushi.

For more information about lilies, visit the following resources:

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