Types of Lilies: Amazing Varieties of Lily Hybrids and List of Lily Cultivars

Types of Lilies: Lily Hybrids and List of Lily Cultivars

Lilies are a type of long-stemmed bulbous plant that produce stunning large flowers with fragrant aromas. All types of lilies are classified into 9 main categories or divisions. Different types of lilies in these divisions have their own characteristics. The most popular kinds of lilies are hybrids in the Oriental, Asiatic, and Trumpet lily divisions.

True varieties of lilies belong to the Lilium plant genus and grow from bulbs. Depending on the species of lily, these leafy flowering plants grow between 2 and 6 ft. (0.6 – 1.8 m).

Lily flowers can be classified by flower form and flower aspect. Many lily flowers look like long funnels with large petals (tepals). Other types of lily flowers have petals that turn back on themselves (recurved tepals) such as the Turk’s-cap lily. Generally, lily flowers are divided into 3 aspects – down facing, out-facing, and up-facing.

lily flower shape

Lily flower shape can be trumpet-like facing upwards (left), or curved outside and facing downwards (right)

Knowing about all the different types of lily hybrids and flowers can help plan your garden landscape. For example, some varieties of lilies such as the Asiatic lily hybrids bloom earlier than others. Also, lilies in the Martagon division prefer shade and cooler climate, whereas Trumpet and Aurelian hybrids thrive in full sun and bloom late in the summer.

In this article, you will learn about the different lily plant families and the various types of hybrid lilies in each category.

Asiatic Lilies

Asiatic lilies

Picture of orange lily (left) and picture of Lilium ‘Black Out’ (right) – these are types of Asiatic lilies

Asiatic lilies (Lilium asiatica), like all lilies, are a perennial type of flowering plant and they are one of the earliest types of lilies to bloom.

If you are looking for lilies that are easy to grow, then Asiatic hybrid lilies are one of your best choices. The tall lily stems can reach up to between 2 and 5 ft. (60 – 150 cm) and thrive in full sun. Also, these types of lily hybrids grow easily in most soil types.

One of the good things about this type of lily hybrid is the number of blossoms on each stem. You can expect to get between 4 and 6 large flowers on each stem. Some Asiatic lilies have classic lily bowl-shaped flowers and others have striking recurved tepals. Each of these striking flowers can be between 4” and 6” (10 – 15 cm) in size.

Asiatic lily blooms come in a wide variety of colors. Some stunning examples have deep red and orange colors and others have more delicate attractive pastel colors. When Asiatic lilies start to flower in June, you can expect the blooms to last until the middle or end of July.

If you want to plant Asiatic lily hybrids in your garden, choose an area where they get full sun. You should make sure that the soil drains well but is kept moist. You can also easily grow these types of hybrid lilies in pots.

Types of Asiatic Lily Hybrids and Cultivars

Orange lily (Lilium bulbiferum or fire lily) has large orange-colored triangular-shaped tepals that can grow up to 2.3” (6 cm) long. The unscented flowers on orange lilies are upward facing and the tepals form an attractive star shape. The anthers in the middle of the flower are not very pronounced.

Lilium ‘Navona’ is a type of white lily that produces very large white flowers and commonly features in wedding bouquets. The showy white flowers on this Asiatic hybrid are up-facing. You will also notice that the ends of the tepals are partial recurved. Contrasting yellow/orange anthers protrude from the flower.

Lilium ‘Black Out’ is a stunning example of an Asiatic hybrid lily. The large fiery-red tepals turn to deep red in the center of the bloom. On each long stem grows 4 or 5 upward facing flowers that are some of the darkest types of lily flowers you will find.

Asiatic ‘Pixie’ is a dwarf lily perennial hybrid that thrives in full sun and has very large pink, orange, or yellow flowers. Stems on this small Asiatic hybrid lily don’t grow taller than 18” (45 cm) and the upward facing blooms flower between late May and early June.

Lilium ‘Dot Com’ is a showy type of Asiatic hybrid lily that produces white and purple flowers with deep red spots. These tall lilies grow to about 3 ft. (90 cm) and you get between 5 and 9 stunning upward flowers on each stem.

Lilium ‘Citronella’ has recurved yellow speckled tepals that form delightful downward facing blooms.

Tiger lily (Lilium Lancifolium) produces orange-colored bowl-shaped flowers that have dark speckles covering each recurved petal. The Lilium ‘Double Tiger’ is a variation of this cultivar with stunning orange double flowers.

Martagon Lilies

lilium martagon

Lilium ‘Album’ (left) and Lilium ‘Pink Morning’ (right) are types of Martagon lilies

Martagon hybrid lilies (Lilium martagon) belong to division II of lilies and produce exceptional blooming flowers.

Some Martagon lily hybrids can grow taller than Asiatic lilies with certain cultivars reaching 6 ft. (180 cm) tall. Generally, these lily cultivars produce a number of downward facing small flowers with between 12 and 50 flowers per stem!

Because Martagon lily flowers are strongly recurved, they are commonly called Turk’s cap. Their petals can be a variety of colors that include yellows, reds, pinks, lavenders, whites, and oranges. Some Martagon lily hybrid petals have speckles, others have stripes, and some are just a plain color.

Generally, Martagon lilies grow well in full sun with part shade. Due to the fact that they also grow well in a lot of shade, you can also plant them between shrubs or in shady areas of your garden.

Because they are easy to grow, these lily hybrids are also good for the novice gardener.

Type of Martagon Lily Hybrids and Cultivars

Lilium ‘Arabian Knight’ produces Turk’s cap-style flowers that have a fragrant scent and downward facing blooms. Tepals are a rusty-brown color with light orange edging. Expect up to 50 delightful blooms on the tall stems.

Lilium ‘Manitoba Morning’ hybrid Martagon lilies produce pink-colored drooping blooms that have recurved tepals. These Turk’s cap flowers have striking orange anthers pointing down to the ground. Manitoba Mornings grow well in shady conditions as well as in full sun.

Lilium ‘Album’ is an easy-to-grow Martagon hybrid that has pure white downward facing blossoms appearing in early summer. Due to the fact they only reach heights of between 60” and 82” (150 – 210 cm), these lily cultivars are good for edging or border plants.

Lilium ‘Pink Morning’ has delicately scented blossoms in the shape of a Turk’s cap that is downward facing. The light pink tepals are red-speckled and have white edging.

Candidum (Euro-Caucasian) Lilies

candidum lily

From left to right: Madonna lily, Turban lily and Lilium monadelphum are types of Candidum (Euro-Caucasian) lilies

Lilies in the Candidum hybrid (Lilium candidum) division III are mostly related to European species of lilies. Compared to other classifications of lily hybrids, there are not many types of lilies in this category.

The most notable lily of this species is the Madonna Lily which, according to some reports, has been cultivated for over 3,000 years. The Madonna Lily grows to about 4 ft. (1.3 m) tall, and some can even reach 6 ft. 7″ (2 m) high!.

One of the striking features about Madonna Lily is the long trumpet-like white lily flowers. The large 6 petals on the Madonna Lily can grow up to 3” (8 cm) long and are slightly recurved. This gives the out-facing blossoms a showy look as the long orange anthers point out from the center of the flower.

Types of Candidum Lily Hybrids and Cultivars

  • Turban lily (Lilium pomponium) has down-facing red dangling flowers in the shape of a Turk’s cap.
  • Lilium monadelphum produces large out-facing flowers with yellow tepals that slightly bend backward. The yellow flowers have purple spots along the edges.

American Lilies

American lilies

From left to right: Panther lily, Turk’s Cap lily and Philadelphia lily are types of American lilies

Types of lilies in the American hybrid classification (division IV) include all the lilies that are native to North America.

Depending on where you live in North America, these lily hybrids bloom at different times. In the warmer states, you can expect a variety of delightfully scented flowers in late spring and early summer. In the cooler states and Canada, you may have to wait until July to see your American lily hybrids blooming.

American hybrid lilies come in a wide array of colors and petal patterns. Many of the American lilies have recurved petals that dangle down facing the ground. However, some hybrid American lily flowers have a Turk’s caps appearance, whereas others have petals that spread out and seem to reach to the skies.

Most American types of lily cultivars grow well in partial shade and are suitable for planting between shrubs or in wooded areas.

Types of American Lily Cultivars and Hybrids

Panther lily (Lilium pardalinum) is also called the Leopard Lilly and produces Turk’s Cap shaped flowers with fully recurved petals. Down facing Panther lily flowers are red-orange colors with brown speckles covering the leaves. This is also a tall lily hybrid with stems reaching up to 6.6 ft. (2.5 m) high.

Turk’s Cap lily (Lilium superbum) is a type of lily that can grow in damp conditions. The large lily hybrid grows well in partial shade and produces large yellow or deep orange-colored flowers with dark brown spotting. These are also called American Tiger Lilies and they are different from the Asiatic Tiger Lily due to the flowers having a green star in the center.

Philadelphia lily (Lilium philadelphicum), or Wood Lily, has large upward facing blooms with orange/red petals that fan out in a star shape. Compared to other types of American lily cultivars, the Philadelphia lily only grows to between 12” and 35” (30 – 90 cm). This lily cultivar grows well in cooler climates and flowers between mid-summer and August.

Kellogg’s Lily (Lilium kelloggii) is a large variety of American lily that produces large showy, down facing hanging flowers. Each tall lily stem can grow up to 27 fragrant blooms that have recurved petals. These long petals are usually light pink color with dark pink speckling covering the petals.

Lilium ‘Lake Tulare’ has delightful pink oval-shaped back-curling petals that taper to a point.

Lilium ‘Yellow Butterfly’ lilies look like a bright candelabra with their downward facing drooping blooms. The tips of the banana-colored recurved petals point upward with dark orange anthers pointing to the ground.

Lilium ‘Spirit of America’ grows in clusters of long leafy stems with an abundance of red Turk’s cap-shaped nodding flowers.

Longiflorum Lilies

easter lily

Easter Lily (Lilium longiflorum) with a white flower

The Easter Lily (Lilium longiflorum) is a large showy lily that has long, white trumpet-like flowers. Lily hybrids in the Longiflorum division generally grow well in full sun and are easier to grow in containers or pots rather than in the garden.

Easter lily flowers are often used as cut flowers in large bouquets. The Easter Lily stems grow between 24” and 36” tall (60 – 90 cm) and each leafy stem can produce a number of long fragrant white flowers.

Although this lily variety usually blooms in June or July, with special care, the lily can be ‘forced’ to bloom in the spring around Easter time.

Although the classic Longiflorum lily is white, a number of cultivars in varying colors have been developed.

Types of Longiflorum Lily Cultivars

  • Lilium longiflorum ‘Deliana’ has trumpet-shaped out-facing creamy yellow flowers.
  • Lilium longiflorum ‘Elegant Lady’ has long fragrant flowers similar in shape to the Easter Lily but in a delightful pink color. This lily variety is also called the ‘Pink Easter Lily.’
  • Lilium longiflorum ‘Triumphator’ is a type of lower classification of the Lilium Longiflorum Easter lily. This lily variety has striking white trumpet blooms that have a deep pink center.

Trumpet Lilies, including Aurelian Lilies

trumpet lilies

Lilium ‘Golden Splendor'(left) and Lilium ‘African Queen'(right) are types of Trumpet lilies

One of the most stunning and fragrant types of lilies are Trumpet and Aurelian hybrids.

All types of lilies classified as Trumpet hybrids have long funnel-like flowers in varying colors and shades. Trumpet hybrid lily flowers can be down facing, out-facing, or up-facing. Some of the flowers are also bowl-shaped; however, most of these lily varieties have flowers in the shape of a trumpet.

Depending on the type of Trumpet or Aurelian lily, the flowers can be between 6” and 10” (15 – 25 cm) long. Each long lily stalk can have between 12 and 15 flowers per stalk. So, planting these types of lily varieties can create showy flower displays in your garden.

The good thing about planting these lily hybrids in your garden is that they bloom late in the season. Therefore, you can enjoy wonderful blooms when many other plants have stopped flowering.

Unlike Asiatic classifications of lilies, most lilies in the Trumpet division have sweet-smelling blooms. Due to the fact these lily flowers have a strong scent, they may be too intense to have as cut flowers indoors if you are sensitive to smells.

Types of Trumpet Lilies, including Aurelian Lily Hybrids

Lilium ‘Golden Splendor’ is a trumpet-flowered lily with large out-facing or down facing yellow flowers. Golden Splendor blooms are very fragrant and you can expect to get up to 20 flowers on each long lily stem.

Lilium ‘Rimmer deVries’ lily produces very large blooms with recurved petals. Petals are white and yellow that fade to dark brown in the center. The stunning feature of this lily cultivar is the long protruding anthers. Similar to this lily hybrid is the ‘Susan Elizabeth’ with its light orange recurved petals.

Lilium ‘African Queen’ is a very fragrant lily that has extra large trumpet flowers. Each orange-colored trumpet flower can grow between 6” and 8” (15 – 20 cm) long. Blooms can be downward facing or outward facing.

Lilium ‘Beijing Moon’ is an Aurelian hybrid lily that will give you stunning trumpet-shaped flowers in your garden. These are also a type of tall lily with some cultivars reaching 6 ft. (1.8 m) in height. The wonderful pink and white flowers also have a strong floral fragrance.

Oriental Lilies

oriental lilies

Clockwise from top left: Lilium ‘Stargazer’, Lilium ‘Casa Blanca’, Lilium ‘Muscadet’ and Lilium ‘Mona Lisa’ are types of Oriental lilies

Oriental lilies are some of the most popular lilies to grow outdoors. For many people, Oriental hybrid lilies are the lily of choice. This is because they have stunning enormous blooms and sweet floral fragrances. However, compared to some other classes of lilies, Oriental hybrids may be trickier to grow.

Lily hybrids in the Oriental division differ from Asian hybrids because they are generally larger and more fragrant. Varieties of Oriental lilies bloom from mid-summer and some may even continue flowering into the fall.

Usually, Oriental lily hybrids have outfacing flowers that are in varying shades of pink, red, orange, and white. However, one exception is the stunning Oriental Stargazer lily which has upward facing flat-faced flowers.

Some species of Oriental lilies can grow between 3 and 5 ft. (0.9 – 1.5 m) tall. Their blooms are among some of the largest of any type of lily.

Types of Oriental Lily Hybrids and Cultivars

  • Lilium ‘Stargazer’ is a spectacular type of hybrid lily with bowl-shaped flowers and intense fragrance. The large white/pink petals are slightly curved backward and you will get around 8 very large blooms on each stem. This is one of the few upward facing lilies among the Oriental hybrids.
  • Lilium ‘Muscadet’ produces outward facing white flowers that give off an intense scent. The long white petals have ruffled edges and a pink stripe and dots running down the middle.
  • Lilium ‘Mona Lisa’ is a hardy type of dwarf Oriental lily that is fairly easy to grow. The pink curling petals have dark red/pink speckles on them and form stunning outward-facing blooms.
  • Lilium ‘Casa Blanca’ has to be one of the most elegant of all lily hybrids with its pure white flowers and contrasting red/orange anthers. This strongly-scented lily grows between 6 and 8 flowers per stem.

Other Hybrids (Interdivisional Hybrids)

Lily LA hybrid

Lilium LA Hybrid Samur is a type of interdivisional lily hybrid

Interdivisional lily hybrids are cultivated by crossing types of lilies from different divisions. This results in different kind of lilies, each with their own unique characteristics.

Some of the most popular interdivisional hybrids include:

  • LA lily hybrids are a cross between Lilium longiflorum and Asiatic lilies. This type of hybrid lily has large flat blooms that are mildly fragrant.
  • OT lily hybrids are cultivated by crossing Oriental lilies with Trumpet lilies. Lilies from this type are heavily scented with large, eye-catching trumpet blooms.
  • LO lily hybrids result from crossing Lilium longiflorum lilies with Oriental varieties. These lily hybrids have strong scents and trumpet-shaped blooms with curved petals.

Species Lilies

Lilies that are in the Species division are native lilies that grow in the wild. These wild lilies are the parents of all the hybrid lilies from the previous 8 divisions of lilies mentioned on this list.

In general, lily hybrids in the lower lily classifications are far easier to grow in gardens or containers than wild, species lilies.

There are also a number of flowering plants with beautiful flowers that have ‘lily’ in their name but are not true lilies. So, it’s good to remember that all true lilies are classified as being in the Lilium genus. Other types of plants such as Calla lilies, water lilies, daylilies, or lily of the valley are not true varieties of lily.

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