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A Guide to the Different Types of Lilies in Australia

Most of the different types of lilies can be grown in Australia and they make a stunning addition to your garden when they grace you with their majestic blooms in summer.

Basically, there are 9 different types of lilies more commonly referred to as divisions.

As these plants grow from bulbs or tubers, they’ll spring back year after year to give you a spectacular display.

Here are the main types of lilies found in Australia:

Asiatic Lilies

Asiatic Lily | Plant varieties

Asiatic lilies are the show-stoppers of the lily family. They are exceptionally easy to grow and will flower from late spring to mid-summer. These normally grow to a height of around 120 cm and each stem can have up to five blooms. 

Many hybrids have been produced from this lily species, so you have an almost endless choice of flower colours.

Oriental Lilies

Oriental Lily | Plant varieties

Oriental lilies are another type of lily that is commonly grown in Australia and these are equally as spectacular. You’ll find that many of the oriental hybrids will have stunning markings such as stripes or spots on their flower petals with many being two-tone.

You’ll find these hybrids mostly in colours of white, pink, and purple. The stems can grow to a height of 150 cm. The flowers bloom from mid-summer through to autumn and are fragrant.

Aurelian Lilies

Aurelian Lily | Plant varieties

Aurelian lilies have quite distinct trumpet-shaped flowers and are also commonly referred to as trumpet lilies.

Most hybrids come in shades of white or yellow. Sometimes the flowers will have contrasting bars on the trumpet tube and a slightly darker throat.

Martagon Lilies

Martagon Lily | Plant varieties

These are commonly referred to as Turk’s Caps because the flower petals curve backward while the blooms face downwards.

The plants have tall flower stems that bear multiple blooms evenly spaced along the stem. These lilies prefer a shaded spot in the garden.

Candidum Lilies

Candidum Lily | Plant varieties

These include the Madonna lilies and they originate from Europe. The blooms are generally cream to white in colour.

American Lilies

American Lily | Plant varieties

American hybrid lilies are bred from lilies that are native to North America. They have smaller flowers that face downward with petals that curve upward. They are most commonly yellow to orange in colour.

Longiflorum Lilies

Longiflorum Lily | Plant varieties

These are the Easter lilies. They have pretty trumpet-shaped flowers and are usually white in colour.

The stems can grow to a height of 90 cm and each one can bear up to 15 flowers. The blooms are highly fragrant.

Interdivisional Lilies

LA hybrid Lily | Plant varieties

Interdivisional lilies are hybrids that have been bred by crossing two different species to include the best characteristics of each one. The most common hybrids are:

  • OT hybrids are created by crossing Oriental lilies with Trumpet lilies
  • LA hybrids are created by crossing Longiflorum lilies with Asiatic lilies
  • OA hybrids are created by crossing Oriental lilies with Asiatic lilies

Species Lilies

This division includes species-specific lilies that are not hybrids but rather, native species. In total, there are around 90 wild species.

These have smaller flowers that are quite delicate and include the orange tiger lilies.

FAQ

How do I identify lilies?

Most lily flowers have what looks like 6 petals. However, three of these are actually sepals and three are true petals but all are somewhat identical. The colour of the flowers and the markings will help you to identify the type of lily that you have growing in your garden.

What lilies are native to Australia?

There are numerous native Australian plants that are referred to as lilies. However, most of them are actually native orchids or gingers. These include the Sydney Rock Lily, the Gymea Lily, the Cape York Lily, the Blue Grass Lily, and plants in the Dianella species. There’s also the Vanilla Lily that is native to the Ballarat area in Victoria.

What is the most common type of lily?

The most common types of lilies are the Asiatic, Oriental, and Aurelian lilies.

Do lilies come back every year?

Yes, lilies grow from bulbs and if these are left in the ground, they will start growing again in spring and burst into flower in summer as the weather heats up.

Should lilies be deadheaded?

It is a good idea to deadhead your lilies as this should encourage more flowering. It will also help the plant to not waste energy on seed production and put this energy into storing food in the bulb for the following season’s blooms.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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