The Oriental lily is a dramatic flower. Its height, color, shape and fragrance contribute to its striking appearance and its popularity. Adding an Oriental lily to a summer garden, bouquet or floral arrangement will add an element of drama and leave a memorable impression.
Ancient Greeks believed that lilies were made from drops of goddess's Hera's milk as she fed Hercules. Dating as far back as 1580 B.C, pictures of the lily have been found on Egyptian tombs, Cretan wall paintings and Assyrian carvings. Until the 16th century, however, the only variety of lily known was the Madonna lily. It is believed that the "lilies of the field" mentioned in the Bible are Madonna lilies. The Oriental lily, which native to the lily species of Korea and Japan, dates back nearly 3000 years.
Throughout history, lilies have been used to make perfume, cosmetics, aphrodisiacs and anti-aging products. They are currently popular in bridal bouquets as they are incredibly fragrant and dramatic in color and shape. The Chinese believe that the lily symbolizes eternal love, which aids in their bridal appeal. Oriental lilies, a perennial flower, are easy to grow and increase in number every year which make them a garden favorite.
If growing your own Oriental lily plant, plant bulbs in a slightly acidic soil approximately 5 inches underground. A small amount of fertilizer aids in the growth of the bulb. Lilies need a half day's worth of sunlight and require moist soil. The lily should be harvested just before it blooms and can last 10 days with care.
The Oriental lily opens in a six-petal bloom that can spread up to 20 cm in diameter. When bloomed they are often described as "bowl-like." The height of the lily can range from 3 feet to 5 feet. They are found in vibrant colors including pink, crimson, pure white, pink and white, gold and white, and many others. The only color not available is true blue.
Adding to the Oriental lily's popularity is its availability. Although grown in home gardens only in the summer, the lily can be found year-round for purchase. It is, however, more expensive during the winter months.
- Photo Credit Lilium oriental hybrids image by Andrew Filatov from Fotolia.com
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