plant of the month
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Lilium x hybrida
Asiatic hybrid lily
Oriental hybrid lily
LA (longiflorum/Asiatic) hybrid lily
LO (longiflorum/Oriental) hybrid lily
OT (Oriental/trumpet) hybrid lily
Depending on type of
hybrid, lilies’ six-petaled blooms range from about 4 to 8
inches in diameter. The flowers, generally three to 10 per stem,
can be upward facing to nodding, and the petals can be strongly recurved. Radiating from the core of the blooms are the stamens,
which consist of stemlike filaments that support pollen-bearing
Hybrid lily stems, which can grow to 2 feet tall in pots, have
leaves that vary from narrow and grasslike to short and broad.
Many Oriental, OT and LO hybrid varieties are fragrant, with
some cultivars being stronger than others. Asiatic and LA
hybrids generally have slight or no fragrance.
Hybrid lilies are
available in solid colors (with or without speckles) and
bicolors (speckled, striped and/or splashed). The color range
includes pinks, reds and burgundies; oranges, from red-orange
and rust to peach and coral; yellows, from pastel to bright; and
Potted hybrid lilies
should last from about four to 12 days, depending on species and
variety, care, environmental conditions (especially temperature)
and stage of maturity at the time of sale.
Hybrid lilies are
available year-round although types of hybrids and cultivars
vary by month and season.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
Hybrid lily plants require lots of bright, indirect light.
Keep compost evenly moist at all times, watering lightly but
frequently. Be careful not to overwater.
Hybrid lilies perform best in cool interior environments:
ideally, 60 F to 70 F during the daytime; 45 F to 60 F at night,
These plants prefer
moderately humid air, so misting leaves (not blooms)
occasionally can be beneficial.
These plants can be refrigerated, at 35 F to 38 F, at the grower
or retailer level, for up to three days; however, they will
perform better for consumers without refrigerated storage.
During their blooming
cycle, feed Freesia plants every seven to 10 days with a
balanced or high-phosphorous plant food. This is especially
helpful if consumers intend to save and replant the corms.
A light, well-draining potting mixture will provide best
Hybrid lilies are
sensitive to ethylene gas although the degree varies by species
and cultivar. Asiatic hybrids are most sensitive while Oriental,
LO and OT hybrids are least sensitive. Exposure to ethylene
causes leaf, bud or petal drop as well as buds to wither before
Make sure your purchases, especially Asiatic hybrids, are
treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the grower level or during
shipping. In addition, keep them away from sources of ethylene
such as ripening fruit, decaying flowers and foliage, automobile
exhaust, and tobacco smoke.
Lily pollen will stain anything it touches, so remove all
anthers immediately after each bloom opens, and advise customers
to do the same. If pollen gets on fabric, brush it away lightly
and gently with a soft brush, piece of tissue or chenille stem.
Do not wet the fabric or touch the stain with your hands. If any
pollen color remains, place the fabric outside in the sunshine
until the stain disappears.
This is typically a result
of cold storage, too-low light conditions and/or overwatering.
PREMATURE FLOWER BUD DEATH
Causes include exposure to ethylene, too-low light conditions,
too-high temperatures, cold storage for too many days and/or
refrigeration at too-low temperatures.
LEAF, BUD AND/OR PETAL DROP
The most common cause is exposure to ethylene.
Hybrid lilies are members of the Liliaceae (lily)
family and are related to lilies-of-the-valley, daylilies,
Fritillarias, Gloriosas, hyacinths, tulips and
stars-of-Bethlehem, among others.
HOME SWEET HOME
Hybrid lilies are native to Japan and China.
Buy hybrid lily plants
when only one or two buds are puffy and showing color,
and before any buds are open.
Check flower buds, stems and leaves for bruising,
browning, yellowing, mold and rot.
Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner
Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life
by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
by Ingrid Jantra and
House Plant Expert, The,
by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
SAF Flower & Plant Care,
by Terril A. Nell, Ph.D.
and Michael S. Reid, Ph.D.