Several types of lillies do well in Iowa gardens

AMES — The large, showy blooms of lilies add colorful elegance to the summer landscape. While many plants are called “lily,” plants such as daylily, calla lily, surprise lily or water lily are not “true lilies.” Many types of lilies are great for almost any garden situation.

Several types of lilies do well in Iowa gardens. By planting some from each of the different types, you can have lilies in bloom for most of the summer. The popular Asiatic lilies have flowers that face up or outward and cultivars are available in just about every color but true blue. Blooms open in early summer on top of stems that range from 2 to 5 feet tall. They grow and multiply quickly but are not as fragrant as other types of lilies.

Oriental lilies have large, fragrant blooms in mid to late summer in whites, pinks and crimsons. The flowers typically face out or nod downward and are often spotted or edged in dark contrasting colors. Their tall 3-to-6-foot stems sometimes need a little extra support, especially if placed in areas that receive strong winds.

Trumpet lilies bloom in mid-summer and are noted for their spotless, fused petals that form a trumpet shape. The highly fragrant, outward-facing flowers are available primarily in white, yellow and pale pink. Plants need protection from the wind or staking because they grow 3 to 8 feet tall.

Martagon lilies, sometimes referred to as Turk’s cap lilies, have nodding flowers in white, purplish red, yellow, orange or pink and are often spotted or freckled. The stems have distinctive whorls of leaves and reach 4 to 5 feet tall.

Early fall is also the best time to dig and divide lilies. Carefully dig up the clump and separate the bulbs. Replant the bulbs immediately.


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