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Home » What is a Lilium and How is it Different from a Lily?

What is a Lilium and How is it Different from a Lily?

Although lily and Lilium are often used synonymously, they’re not quite the same. Gardeners are likely to come across both lilies and Lilium when researching plants for their garden, with many being confused about the difference between them.

What Does Lilium Mean?

What is Lilium? Lilium refers to the genus of plants encompassing true lilies. This genus is under the Liliaceae family and boasts a wide range of flowering plants renowned for their large, scented, and often trumpet-shaped flowers. When one speaks scientifically or botanically about lilies, they are referring to the plants under the Lilium genus.

The main point of confusion lies in the difference between a plant’s common name and its scientific name. In everyday conversation, when using common names, lily can include a vast array of flowering plants resembling the lily form, even if they don’t belong to the Lilium genus. For instance, the Madonna lily has the scientific name Lilium candidum, signifying that it is a true lily. The daylily, on the other hand, falls under the Hemerocallis genus, having the scientific name Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus, despite the “lily” in its name.

When we speak of Lilium, we’re specifically addressing those plants that are true lilies. Understanding this distinction helps gardeners and plant enthusiasts make informed choices and appreciate the rich diversity of plants that the term “lily” might encompass.

Lilium – A Closer Look

The Essence of Lilium

Plants in the genus Lilium embody grace and splendour in the botanical world. Native to temperate areas in the Northern Hemisphere, Lilium have graced many gardens with their
elegant, often fragrant blooms. From the intricate patterns on a Turk’s cap lily to the soft hues of the pink palace, each species offers a unique touch to landscapes and bouquets alike.

Lilium Turks Cap Coll Colliltcc - Garden Express Australia

Turk’s Cap

Are Lilium Perennials?

Liliums have a life cycle that spans over multiple years, making them perennials. While the splendid flowers and above-ground parts might die in the winter, the bulbs beneath the soil remain alive, awaiting spring to sprout anew. This longevity and cycle of rebirth are among the reasons they’re cherished by gardeners; with proper care, a Lilium can grace gardens with its presence for years.

Symbolism and Cultural Significance

Liliums, throughout various cultures and eras, have been laden with meaning. In ancient Greek mythology, they symbolised motherhood and rebirth, inspired by the story of Hera and Zeus. The white Madonna lily was considered a symbol of purity in early Christian times.

Today, different colours and types of Lilium carry diverse meanings: white for purity, orange for confidence and passion, and yellow for cheerful thoughts. This cultural tapestry woven around Lilium adds another layer to its appeal, making it not just a visual treat but also a symbol of deep emotions.

How to Grow Lilium in Your Garden

Growing Lilium in your garden means you’ll soon be enjoying a delightful floral display. Start by planting bulbs in well-draining soil, ensuring they’re at a depth roughly three times the height of the bulb. Provide them with full sun to partial shade, keeping in mind that afternoon shade is especially beneficial in hotter climates. Regular watering and keeping the soil moist is key to healthy growth.

Lilium Pink Mist Pklilpmi - Garden Express Australia

Lilium Pink Mist

Adapt your care based on your local climate: while most Lilium thrive in temperate zones, in colder regions consider mulching for winter protection, and in warmer areas, seek out heat- tolerant varieties. With a bit of care, your garden will soon be thriving with the elegant beauty of Lilium.

For a more in-depth guide on planting these stunning perennials, check out our expert Lilium growing guide.

Garden Express – Your Lilium Experts

Distinguishing between lilies and Lilium allows gardeners to appreciate the genuine traits of true lilies, separate from those that simply have “lily” in their name. Delving into the world of Liliums opens up a wide range of enchanting blooms for your garden.

If you’re captivated by the idea of cultivating Lilium or simply wish to delve deeper into the realm of these flowers, Garden Express is here to guide you. Explore our extensive catalogue for a myriad of options, or get in touch with us for expert gardening advice. You can reach our friendly team via our contact form, or give us a call on 1300 606 242.

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