plant of the month
Lilium x hybrida
• Asiatic hybrid lily
• Oriental hybrid lily
• LA hybrid lily (longiflorum/Asiatic)
• LO hybrid lily (longiflorum/Oriental)
• OT hybrid lily (Oriental/Trumpet, Orienpet)
(See more information in “Cut Flower of the Month: Common Names,”)
• Depending on type of hybrid, single-flowered lilies’ six-petaled blooms range from about 4 inches (Asiatic) to 8 inches (Oriental) in diameter. Relatively new double-flowered Oriental lilies have multiple layers of petals.
• The blooms, which generally number from three to 10 per stem, can be upward, outward or downward facing, and some can be strongly recurved.
• Rising from the core of the blooms are the stamens—stemlike filaments topped with pollen-bearing anthers. (See “Challenges: Pollen Stains,” ).
• Hybrid lily stems generally grow no taller than around 24 inches in pots. Leaves vary from narrow and grasslike to short and broad.
• Many Oriental and OT hybrid varieties are fragrant, some more so than others. Asiatic, LA and LO 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; orange, red-orange, rust, peach and coral; yellows, from pastel to bright; pale green; and whites and creams.
Potted hybrid lilies generally last from about four to 12 days, depending on species and variety, number of buds, 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 seasonally.
in-store and consumer care
Hybrid lily plants require lots of bright, indirect light—with no exposure to direct sunlight.
Potted lilies prefer evenly moist compost, which requires light but frequent watering. Overwatering can cause foliage to turn yellow.
These bulb plants perform best in cool environments: ideally, 60 F to 70 F during the daytime and 45 F to 60 F at night, if possible.
Hybrid lilies 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.
Lilies are sensitive to ethylene gas, with Asiatic hybrids being the most sensitive. Exposure to ethylene can cause bud, petal and leaf drop; bud withering; and leaf yellowing.
Make sure your purchases are treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the farm or during shipping, and keep them away from sources of ethylene in your facilities, particularly ripening fruit and other produce.
None is required.
Remove individual blooms as they fade and leaves as they yellow.
When the bloom cycle is over, reduce watering as stems die down. Keep the bulbs in the compost; store them in a dark, cool (above 28 F) environment; and replant them outdoors in the autumn or in the spring, only after winter is completely over. With subsequent blooming, flowers likely will be smaller and growth less vigorous than with new bulbs.
Advise customers to keep blooming lilies out of direct sunlight and warm drafts, and to carefully remove anthers as soon as blooms open (see “Challenges: Pollen Stains").
This common problem is typically a result of cold storage, insufficient light and/or overwatering.
PREMATURE FLOWER BUD DEATH
Causes include exposure to ethylene, insufficient light, 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.
(see “Cut Flower of the Month: Pollen Stains,” )
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• Check flower buds, stems and leaves for bruising, browning, yellowing, mold and rot.
• Buy hybrid lily plants when only one or two buds are puffy and showing color, and before any buds are open.
Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.J. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network®; www.chainoflifenetwork.org
by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
Houseplant Encyclopedia, The
by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Krüger
House Plant Expert, The, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center,
“The Lily Dossier,”www.lilydossier.com
SAF Flower & Plant Care,
by Terril A. Nell, Ph.D. and Michael S. Reid, Ph.D.