Lily: Introducing the 2018 Summer Bulb of the Year

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Dazzling lilies set off colorful fireworks in the garden. Garden? Yes, in the garden! Many people are familiar with lilies as cut flowers but don’t know that they can also add sparkle to the garden.

This is why the lily was selected to be the Summer Bulb of 2018.


Lilies, native to the Northern Hemisphere, have been a flower of significance for thousands of years. They are surrounded by symbolism.

The lily represents femininity, love, purity and a sense of transience. But lilies also have a wonderful history. In 1150, King Louis of France used an image of a lily on his shield as a symbol of his name (Louis or Loys) and power. The lily is also portrayed as a focal point in many historical paintings.

Summer flowers

Lilies are one of the most popular spring-planted flower bulbs. If you plant different varieties, you can have impressive flowers growing in the garden from June through September.

If you would like to enjoy lilies in your garden all summer, here are the varieties to choose and their flowering periods:

• Early June: Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum), 2-3 weeks in bloom

• Mid-June: Asian lilies, 2-3 weeks in full bloom

• Late June: Trumpet lilies, 2-4 weeks in bloom

• Early August: Oriental lilies, 3-4 weeks in bloom

• Mid-August: Nepalese lilies, 2-3 weeks in bloom

• September: Speciosum hybrid lilies, 3-4 weeks in bloom

Planting lily bulbs

Planting lilies is easy. If you’ve ever planted daffodils or tulips, then you already know how to plant lilies. Follow these five steps:

1) Choose a spot that gets 4-6 hours of sun per day.

2) Dig a hole 4 to 6 inches deep. It’s better to plant lily bulbs too deep rather than too shallow since planting them deep keeps them nice and cool and also encourages sturdy stems.

3) Loosen the soil at the bottom of the planting hole and place the lily bulbs in the hole. Keep a distance of 6 inches between the bulbs so the plants will receive enough sunlight when they start to grow.

4) Back fill the hole with soil.

5) Water the bulbs right away. This will ensure that their roots start growing more quickly.

Interesting facts

• Plant lilies as soon as you can after purchasing. The warmer it gets, the less likely they will grow tall and strong.

• If you can’t plant immediately after purchase, store them in a cool, dark place such as in the refrigerator. This will keep shoots from emerging.

• The best time of year to plant Madonna lilies and Trumpet lilies is in the fall. This ensures the best flowering display. Plant other kinds of lilies in spring.

• During the flowering season, snip off spent flowers but leave 2/3 of the stem standing. This will keep lilies strong and healthy for years to come.

• Lily bulbs will also thrive in pots and plant containers. Just be sure that they have holes in the bottom so that excess water can drain away.

• Most importantly, have fun!