Home Shop Flowers Bloomin' Blog Find Florists About FSN Contact FSN Florists Only!
Find Your Local Florist:
Home Shop Flowers Bloomin' Blog Find Florists About FSN Contact FSN Florists Only!

Common Oriental Lilies Add An Exotic Touch

Ask the Expert: Is this an Orchid?

Oriental Lily

Oriental Lily

My neighbor has this plant with beautiful purple & white flowers.  I think it is an Orchid, but could not find any photos that looked like it.  I want to ID it, so I can buy some for my garden.  I hope that it is a perennial & can take full sun.

Do you know what it is?

Thanks, Rob

Plant Expert Reply:

Although the plant has an exotic presentation with it long stem and multiple blooms, it isn’t an orchid. What you neighbor has is a common Oriental lily. I’m not sure exactly which cultivar.   These beautiful blooms come from a bulb that is hardy in zones 3-8. Once planted they come back year after year and multiply.  Oriental lilies are planted in the spring.  However, in some zones they are planted in the fall as well.

Oriental lilies usually bloom in the summer and their cousin Asiatic liles bloom 4 to 5 weeks earlier with a similar form and bloom.  They prefer full sun to partial shade.  They need to be planted in an area that drains well all year long.  You can find Oriental lilies at your local garden center.  Be sure to ask them how to amend the soil specifically for oriental lilies in your area.

Oriental lilies can also be used as cut flowers in flower arrangements.

What Do Lily Seeds Look Like?

Ask the Expert: Lilies
I have some beautiful lilies that are about 3 feet tall, orange, and they have what looks like a black seed. It is attached between the leaf and the stem-about the size of a peanut. Are these seeds? If not, what are they? If they are seeds, what do I do with them…plant them or what? Thanks!!!

Plant Expert Reply:

The lily family has many members most of which form round black seeds.  Usually the seed form at the end of a bloom stem.  You can plant the seeds now or harvest and save them to plant later.  If you want to save them wait until the pod opens and collect the seed.  Place the seed in a plastic resealable bag. Be sure to remove as much air as possible. Place the bag with seeds in your refrigerator vegetable crisper until you need them.

Why Do Oriental Lilies Fail To Open?

Ask the Expert: why don’t some oriental lilies open even after proper conditioning? colette


A few things can keep the lilies from opening:

  • Temperature – Oriental lilies prefer temperatures above 45degrees. If your oriental lilies won’t open place them in an area where the temperature is 45degrees or higher.  The warm air will encourage them to open.  Do not place them in direct sun or under an air vent.
  • Ethylene Gas – Oriental lilies are extremely sensitive to ethylene gas.  Over exposure to ethylene gas can cause bloom failure.  Avoid exposure to fruits that give off ethylene gas like apples, bananas, pears etc. or other gas producers like cigarette smoke or exhaust fumes.
  • Once Is Not Enough – Oriental lilies often need to be re-cut more than once to encourage the buds to open.  So if you are only re-cutting them when you prep them, this may be the reason they are not opening.  Re-cutting lilies every couple of days will encourage the buds to open.

Hopefully, the answer to your question is one of the suggestions above.  Good luck and keep me posted.

LA Hybrid, Asiatic and Oriental Lilies Used By Florists & 3 Lily Buying Tips

Today I finally had a chance to catch up on all of the blogs I read. Since it was discussing one of my favorite flowers, lilies, one particular blog caught my eye. As a cut flower, lilies are simply wonderful and I absolutely adore them in my garden. I grow Asiatic, Oriental, Trumpet and Tiger lilies in my home garden and at our garden center. But the difference between lily types is often confusing to many; especially which are used in flower shops and which are grown in the garden.

Kenji at Flower Insolita gives a great outline as to which lilies are used by florists as cut flowers and the vase life expected of each kind. According to Kenji there are three types of lilies used: Asiatic, LA-hybrids and Oriental. Asiatic lilies are very colorful and my favorite is one called Lollypop. This lily has a snow-white center with vibrant pink edges. It adds a pop of color to any mixed flower arrangement. But as Kenji mentions, Asiatic lilies tend to be the smallest of the three with the shortest shelf life 5-7 days. On the plus side, Asiatic lilies tend to be the least expensive with a wider range of colors available.

Oriental lilies have two of my favorite flowers Stargazer and Casa Blanca. Most people are familiar with Stargazer lilies and Casa Blanca lilies. Stargazer lily bouquets have become a popular Valentine’s Day flower and Casa Blanca lilies are often used in funeral flower sprays because of their pure white color. Stargazer and Casa Blanc lilies are fantastic as, both, cut flowers and garden flowers. I have both in my garden and when they bloom the air is filled with an incredible aroma and the eyes are immediately drawn to the massive blooms. In fact, Oriental lilies display the biggest blooms and are all very fragrant. This premium flower is available in white, pink, pale yellow and a “red” (more of a dark pink) and has the longest shelf life, 10-14 days. According to Kenji, there is a dark purple oriental lily that is sometimes available called Sumatra. I am not familiar with Sumarta and would love to see a picture of it used in a mixed flower arrangement.

LA Hybrids are a cross between Asiatic and Trumpet lilies. Non-fragrant like Asiatic, but with bigger and stronger blooms and a shelf life of 7-10 days. These lilies have an abundance of bright color options. As a premier Huntington New York Florists Flower Insolita uses LA hybrids instead of Asiatic lilies.

I often cut the lilies in my garden and place them in a vase to enjoy them in the house. During the off-season, I purchase stems from my local florist. But, I never really though about what to look for when buying lilies. Kenji pointed out three great tips for buying lilies.

  1. Count the number of buds rather than the number of stems. Cheap stem price doesn’t equate to quality lilies.
  2. Look for thick study stems. Lilies are top heavy and need a good support system.
  3. Look for healthy leaves. Yellow leaves could mean ethylene damage.

Subconsciously, I always look for thick stems and healthy leaves; but bud count isn’t something I paid attention to. But the more blooms the better presentation in the vase, so it make sense to look for a good bud count when selecting lilies.

Asiatic, Oriental and LA hybrid lilies are used by florists to create a multitude of flower arrangements. Maybe some of the confusion surrounding florist lilies has been removed and we can all just sit back and enjoy these wonderful flowers. Remember, there is more to the florist’s lily world than Stargazers and Casa Blanca lilies.

I hope you enjoyed this discussion on lilies, as much as I enjoyed Kenji discussion on lilies. I thought I’d share some pictures of flower arrangements containing lilies. If you have any flower arrangement pictures with lilies send to me and I’ll post them here.

Easter Flower Basket with Lilies Easter Flower Basket

Mother Day Flower ArrangementMothers Day arrangement with pink Asiatic lilies

Secretarys Day Flower Arrangement Secretaries Day vase arrangement with yellow lilies.

Orange Lilies For Anniversary Orange lilies in a vase great for an anniversary.