When you want showy, considerable blooms in your garden, look no further than the dazzling white lily. Because they come back year after year with virtually no maintenance, you can enjoy their beauty for many years.
If you are looking for white lilies to add to your garden, some of the best choices include the Easter Lily, Oriental Lily, and the Madonna Lily. Other white lilies include the Silk Road Lily, Calla Lily, Bright Star Lily, Regal Lily, White Carpet Border Lily, and the Giant Crinum Lily.
Lily varieties are classified according to growth habits, flower form such as down-facing or trumpet shape, origin, and more. Let’s take an in-depth look at each lily variety and how you can incorporate these lovely lilies into your planting spaces and home.
Recognized by its fragrant smell, the Oriental Lily is a hybrid lily. It’s a late bloomer and typically shows up in early fall.
This lily blooms for one to two weeks and comes back each year in multiplied flowers since the bulbs reproduce themselves. You can cut the flowers from the lilies to encourage more blooms. When the late fall arrives, cut the Oriental Lilies back to the ground for the dormant winter season.
Planted in the early spring, all lilies need at least eight hours of sun daily. The Oriental Lily needs to be watered weekly to ensure healthy growth but it doesn’t like to sit on the mushy ground. The general planting plan of any lily is to have well-draining soil. If your soil is clay-based, you should add some compost and shredded bark to ensure fluffy soil.
The “Lilia candidum” or Madonna Lily symbolizes purity and femininity. Thought to have originated between Turkey and Afghanistan, ancient doctors used the Madonna Lily to create essential and medicinal oils.
First blooming in spring, the Madonna Lily goes dormant in the summer heat and reblooms in fall as the temperatures cool. This heirloom lily is one of the oldest in the lily family, and the exquisite fragrance is one of the characteristics that entice gardeners to add it to their gardens.
The Madonna Lily is ideal for rock gardens, in landscape beds, and showy, fragrant blooms near a patio. If your soil is acidic, add lime to the dirt at the time of planting to increase the alkalinity. Once the Madonna Lily bulb grows to a mature size of four to six feet (1.83 m) tall, you can cut the trumpet-shaped flowers that boast bold yellow centers.
The Easter Lily is best known for its presence during the Easter holiday. Perhaps the most recognizable white lily, its trumpet-shaped flowers symbolize the news of Christ’s resurrection. While the Easter Lily generally is most prominent at Easter, you can keep your lily for a long time afterward with the proper care.
If you plan to keep your Easter Lily in the pot, this flower likes moist soil, cooler temperatures, and indirect sun. It also likes humidity, so spray the plant with water every other day.
Planting the Easter Lily in your garden or somewhere in the yard is another option. Once the warm spring weather has returned, amend the soil with potting soil and perlite and plant the lily with the roots deep in the ground. The Easter Lily won’t likely bloom that first summer, but you can enjoy their pretty white flowers the following summers.
This lily is native to Japan and is among the largest of the lily varieties. To the Japanese, it symbolizes purity and innocence. The Golden-rayed Lily boasts spots that look like freckles on the petals, blooming from July into late August. It has a distinctive spicy-sweet smell.
When adding the Golden-rayed Lily to your garden, keep in mind that it likes acidic soil which you will achieve by adding lime. Generally immune to pests, this one is easy to grow and stands almost five feet (1.52 m) tall at its mature height.
While this lily can thrive in pots, it’s ideal for planting in cutting gardens and landscape beds. One stem can bear up to fourteen blooms.
Bright Star Lily
The Bright Star Lily combines white petals with an apricot center. This showy lily can stand out in an herb garden or a landscape border. They bloom in summer to very early fall and grow to three to four feet. Their sweet smell can add fragrance to an entire room.
When planting, add some bone meal to the hole and plant the bulb twice as deep as the length of the bulb. If you choose to plant multiple Bright Star Lily bulbs, space them one or two bulb widths from one another.
With their recurved petals, these lilies are perfect for adding to a cut flower bouquet as they’re lovely and fragrant. The Bright Star Lily attracts bees and butterflies, which helps with pollination.
A native of China, the Regal Lily blooms with large, six-inch (15.24 cm) trumpet-shaped flowers. The inside of the lily is white, while the outside is pale purple. It’s easy to grow and looks best when planted in groups of three.
This is one lily that’s not particular about the soil and can thrive in the sun or shade. Each lily stem can bear up to twenty-five flowers, so this is one lily variety that needs staking to remain upright.
As with other lily varieties, the Regal Lily is toxic to cats, so be careful when you have outdoor cats.
Common Star Lily
Different from the Bright Star Lily above, the star lily is a smaller lily where white flowers appear to grow directly out of a grass like plant.
This wildflower’s native range consists of a large swatch of the western US, and experts are still arguing about whether it is a lily or not.
It does provide a quite different look from a lot of lilies, though, so if you want something a bit different from most lilies, this may be something to look for. You’ll probably have to look for wildflower seeds to find it, though.
Many gardeners and horticulturists regard the Casablanca Lily, which blooms with giant, white petals, as the best white lily of all.These flowers are the boldest white of the lily varieties and stop viewers in their tracks. This lily variety grows up to three feet (0.91 m) and will be a standout in any garden.
The Casablanca Lily mixes perfectly with ferns as a background, embodying the best characteristics of the lily species. You’ll see them as part of wedding bouquets, as part of a cut flower bouquet where this lily is the star, and in containers on balconies.
The Casablanca Lily was awarded special recognition in 1993 by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Silk Road Lily
The Silk Road Lily, a hybrid, is a combination of a trumpet and an oriental lily with an exuberant red center with white petals and tips. Growing up to six feet (1.83 m) tall, it demands attention.
Blooming in the middle of summer for almost one month, this lily variety brings a dazzling display. The hybrid Silk Road Lily attracts abundant hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies to create a buzzing sensation in the garden.
Once the initial blooms arrive, the Silk Road Lily often produces secondary blooms that bring even more flowers.
The Calla Lily is a South African native plant that grows on nearly every continent with success. This perennial lily comes back year after year in a showy display. They love the sun but will grow more prolific when planted in a spot that offers both sun and shade.
The Calla Lily brings a focal point to any garden or landscape bed, with distinctive flower shapes. They’re easy to grow and add a sophisticated look to any cut flower arrangement. When planted in well-drained soil, Calla Lilies are fast growers. Leave the rhizomes in the ground for a new blooming bonanza each year.
An interesting fact about the Calla Lily is that it’s not a lily at all. Carolus Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, named the flower and mistakenly classified it as a lily. Later, Karl Koch, a German botanist, clarified that the Calla Lily isn’t a true lily.
Giant Crinum Lily
The Giant Crinum Lily can grow up to eight feet (2.44 m0—hence, the name giant. This lily blooms intermittently throughout the year with a long-stemmed, colossal flower. If you pinch off the flowers after they’ve bloomed, this lily will form more blooms.
This lily is closely related to daffodils and amaryllis but the Giant Crinum Lily gives off a more tropical mood.
The Giant Crinum Lily forms a green clump that expands. Often found in south Florida, this lily thrives in the warm, coastal environment. They grow well in pots and the ground, making them versatile.
Pretty Woman Lily
Growing up to six feet (1.83 m) tall, the Pretty Woman Lily can be mistaken for a tree. The massive blooms are unmistakable, and it’s a gardening dream.This giant lily grows in full sun or shade.
Many people are at a loss for words when they see this lily tree for the first time, describing it as majestic and unreal. On each stem are up to thirty blooms.
The Pretty Woman Lily tree is another hybrid lily bred by crossing Oriental and Trumpet Lilies to get a “super” variety. After blooming, cut the Pretty Woman stems back to the ground for blooming again the following season.
White Carpet Border Lily
These Asiatic lilies grow in a massive group that resembles a border. The White Carpet Border Lily grows up to eighteen inches (45.72 cm) tall and accentuates the front of a picket fence perfectly. As the shortest lily variety, this plant offers showy blooms and is perfect to line walkways.
Many gardeners plant this border lily in front of tall perennial flowers to create a multi-level display. Massed with springtime blooms, the White Carpet Border Lily fills out a landscape bed that flowers for several months.
While they’re small, they pack a punch with their jumbled flowers. The White Carpet Border Lilies return year after year in larger groups to give a bold display. They’re easy to divide (similar to Daylilies) and can be replanted in any location.
Giant Himalayan Lily
While the Giant Himalayan Lily can take two to three years to bloom, when it does, you won’t miss the fantastic flowers. One of the world’s tallest lily varieties, this giant lily grows up to nine feet (2.74 m) tall and in ideal conditions can grow taller.
Also known as the Mountain Giant, this lily is native to the Indian Himalayas and looms over its, preferring shaded areas for growth. Pay attention to these lilies since they’re susceptible to beetles.
With up to twenty blooms on one stalk, this lily grows best in partial shade with rich soil. The Giant Himalayan lily is pest-resistant and grows well with little maintenance. They attract the high-flying pollinators such as many types of flies. As the flies stop to eat the nectar and lay their eggs, their movement from one flower to the next ensures cross-pollination
Northern Christmas Lily
The Northern Christmas Lily is original to Indonesia and blooms in the rainy December season there. This lily grows to a height of eighteen inches (45.72 cm), thriving and blooming in a pot as a houseplant for the next month.
The white flowers produce a pleasant fragrance and are often associated with the Christmas season since they’re sold at garden shops and home improvement stores in early December. You’ll often find them in the red color but white is just as popular.
They’re known for their sweet scent and large, bold flowers that lend an elegant atmosphere to any home during the holidays.
Fremont’s Star Lily
Fremont’s Star Lily, also known as Death Camas, is a western US native lily that doesn’t flower every year. It get’s the name Death Camas because every part of the plant is poisonous.
When it does flower, however, it produces a stalk of green and white flowers that can get up to 3′ tall.
If you’re looking for a native lily for California and Oregon, this may be worth looking into.