Lilies are not only among the most beautiful flowers that can be found in any garden, they -very unsurprisingly- are also among the most favoured and most recognised ones.
And since they are so incredibly popular, it won’t come as a surprise if we tell you, that some of the best known flowers bearing the name “lily” actually are not lilies at all, but only borrow the name. This, for example, is true for the well-known callas lily.
Strictly speaking, only the flowers of the Lilium genus are true lilies. And while this may sound a tad restrictive, let us tell you that there are more than 100 different species falling into the family – there really is no shortage of true lilies!
And while lilies inarguably are astonishingly beautiful flowers, it is quite possible that at least part of their appeal and popularity stems from history, myth, and legend, rather than their own merits. In Greek mythology, lilies were associated with the goddess Hera, and symbolise purity and innocence; the ancient Egyptians were the first to use lilies to scent their perfumes; and in Victorian times, ladies adorned their hair and clothes with lilies for that special bit of added beauty. And these examples are just a few of the extensive appearance of this flower in myth and history across centuries and continents.
In terms of care, the lily likes the sun, and therefore do well in both temperate and tropic climate. They prefer loose, well-draining soil, and require a good amount of watering. Lilies grow both in your garden as well as in containers, and are therefore suited for both indoor and outdoor growth. In other words – if you like the look of lilies, there is really no reason to not grow them yourself!
And to help you find the species most appealing to you, we have collected some of the most popular types below.
Table of Contents
These lillies are plants with medium-sized, upright or outward facing flowers, mostly unscented.
This beautiful lily sports multi-coloured petals in an astonishing array of colours. This is nature’s way of colour blocking right there!
The vibrant mahogany-red petals and bright-orange accents mark this lily. The flowers are resilient, sturdy and long-lasting both in the garden or the vase.
This lily features bold white trumpet-shaped flowers with hot pink tips in early summer. Its narrow leaves remain green in colour throughout the season.
This lily has stunning dark-crimson petals and a centre of dark red-black. As the name suggests, it is one of the darkest lilies and grows up to 3 feet high.
These lilies are characterised by their beautiful creamy-white petals with deep-burgundy and black hearts. They grow up to 3 feet tall, and are favourites amongst bees and butterflies.
The vivid orange petals make the Brunello lily the perfect summer flower for any garden. The flowers are unusually wide and look stunning in vases.
The yellow pendant-shaped petals with darker specks make this lily a spectacular sight. The plant grows up to 5 feet and is perfect for use as border plant.
This stunning lily has creamy white to soft pink blooms that open to reveal deep crimson freckles that grow progressively numerous toward the centre until almost solid burgundy.
This lily is deep red-orange in colour and grows up to 4 feet.
This lily is one of the few true scarlet red lilies and is an exceptionally strong grower. A great addition to your garden!
This easy to grow lily has showy, upward facing flowers with bright yellow petals and a burgundy heart.
This lily has dark-green foliage and bowl-shaped, vivid red petals.
Similar to the Black Spider, this lily has striking white outer petals with the inner being a deep purple near black.
These beautiful eye-catchers have petals with a rose-pink blush and chocolate freckles.
These decorative lilies have showy flowers with pale-yellow petals that are adorned with recursive soft-pink tips. A must-have in any garden!
This genetically short lily has white and soft-pink petals and is, due to its height, perfect for patio pots.
These flowers have downward facing flowers with strongly recurved petals, and whorled leaves. They are also referred to as “Turk’s Cap lilies”.
This gorgeous lily’s petals have a sleek curve and appear to reach upwards as if seeking the sun. The petal’s orange colour becomes darker as it proceeds to the tips of the flower.
This scented lily boasts reflexed petals of mahogany red and spotted gold. It is a beautiful addition to the garden, but is a notoriously slow grower.
This lily has stunning mahogany red coloured petals with golden spots. The Claude Shride is a particular favourite among butterflies!
This stunningly beautiful lily produces up to 50 blooms per stem and has reddish-pink flowers with light creamy yellow centres and dark spots. As most Martagon hybrids, this lily draws butterflies to your patio or garden.
This division includes most of the European species of lilies.
This astonishingly beautiful heirloom lily captivates with its pure white flowers and a lovely, exquisite fragrance. The Madonna lily has first been widely popular 3.000 years ago, and hasn’t lost its appeal one bit ever since.
This is another beautiful white lily with fragrant bells of roughly 4.5 inches in diameter which are found in a truss of 9 to 10 pieces.
A beautiful (and rare) example of a coloured Candidum hybrid lily. The bright orange petals with white centre are an eye-catcher in any garden.
These lilies are mostly taller growing forms and are derived from the wild lilies native to North America.
This stunning lily is characterised by its bright orange-to-reddish leaves that are generously specked with brown dots. Legend says that the lily derives its name from these same spots, since they are reminiscent of a tiger’s marks.
This lily is a Turk’s cap variety and comes with with recurved, hardy, orange, reddish brown-spotted petals.
This large, showy lily is mainly pollinated by hummingbirds. It’s petals are a bright yellow with purple-to-red specks.
This lily shows its distinctive red or orange blooms between June and August. The plant is distributed widely in Canada and the northern parts of the US, but is also endangered in more southern states.
These are cultivated forms of lilies and are most important as plants for cut flowers, and are less often grown in the garden than other hybrids. They are also commonly known as “Easter lilies”.
The Easter lily, funnily enough, won’t bloom in spring if you plant it in your garden – it is a summer flower by heart. The name (and association with the holiday) most likely stems from its pure white petals, and the fact that white flowers not only stand for purity, but also have been mentioned in the Bible in connection with Jesus’s resurrection.
This fragrant lily has large, side-facing, rosy pink flowers with paled edges of white that grow in loose clusters.
Trumpet / Aurelian Hybrids
These flowers are trumpet shaped, facing outward or somewhat downward, and tend to be strongly fragrant, often especially at night.
This lily has fragrant peachy-orange flowers that have beautiful maroon stripes on the outside of the petals. At times, this lily is considered to be more beautiful from the outside than from the inside of the open flower.
This multiple-awards winning lily grows up to 4 feet and is characterised by its yellow-gold flowers that have burgundy markings on the outside of the petals. This lily is also more tolerant of drought than most other types of lilies.
This fragrant lily has been a favourite for more than half a century and for a good reason. The vibrant purple-pink petals with stunning deep carmine markings on the outside are a true feast for the eyes.
This sweet-smelling lily grows large flowers that are up to 6 inches wide and are a captivating mix of pure white petals, a vivid yellow centre, and alluring bright pink streaks on the outside of the flower.
These lilies have fragrant, outward facing flowers. Both plants and flowers tend to be quite large. This group of lilies is sometimes referred to as “stargazers” because they appear to look upwards.
These lilies date back to Roman times when they were used for medicine and as edible meal decorations. This lily has the largest flowers of all lilies and are utterly beautiful with their pure white petals.
This fragrant lily captivates with its bright pink petals that are edged in light rose or white, and are dotted with darker spots.
This lily has extra long white petals that fascinate with their bold pink stripes and cheery dots.
This striking lily has bright pink petals and white hearts that make them a real looker. And not only we humans love this plant – bees and butterflies are often seen fluttering around the bright flowers.
This lily is one of the classics. With its beautiful, fragrant, slightly recurved petals in pale pink and soft white this is surely one of the most beautiful lilies out there.
As this picture shows, this lily with its fuchsia petals and white tips are a wonderful choice for border plants, since it grows up to 15 flowers per stalk and therefore create a real carpet of colour along pathways.
This beautiful and fragrant lily is named after a Dutch dessert. The petals change colour from white to hot pink at the tips and have a striking yellow midrib.
This group includes all other types of garden hybrids, and crosses of two hybrids.
This beautiful lily sports broad white edges surrounding lovely raspberry pink petals. It is also known as the “Friso” and grows best in moisture-rich soil.
The most notable about this stunning lily is its incredibly large flowers with petals that grow up to 7 inches wide. The petals are a striking mixture of vibrant reds and yellow. These lilies grow up to 5 feet tall and do best in full sunlight, or partial shade.
This striking lily is characterised by its multicoloured flowers: if you look closely, there’s a wonderful mixture of white and cream colours, reds and soft pinks, and even multiple shades of yellow – all in one single petal. Combined with the dark green, nearly black of stems and foliage, this lily is a particular treat for the eyes.
With their flowers a beautiful mixture of deep reds and yellows, this lily couldn’t be a better representation of its blooming period: the height of summer. As many other lilies of its type, the Flashpoint tolerates both acidic and alkaline soil, and is therefore a good choice for nearly all gardens.
This romantic lily charms with it soft pink petals that gradually turn a more vibrant shade inwards, and a lovely scent. Growing 3 to 4 feet tall, this lily blooms in mid-summer and is the perfect border plant.
This striking lily is easily recognised by its distinctive deep-maroon petals that bear a narrow, white edge. This lily grows naturally bush-like when left to its own devices, and therefore is a great addition to any garden that fits in seamlessly with the nature around.
This lovely pink lily is also known as “Naked Ladies” since it blooms on leafless stems in mid to late summer. As one of the few truly striking flowers that bloom in late summer, the Belladonna thrives on conditions most other plants don’t: dry heat and sunshine galore are its preferred weather.