Varieties Of Asian Lilies
One of the problems we encounter when planting Asian lilies, or most any other type of lily for that matter, is we don't plant enough of them. We plant four or five, they are beautiful so we cut them and take them indoors, and then have no more lilies.
Asian And Oriental Are Not One And The Same - First of all, there are some differences between Asian lilies and Oriental lilies. It's not that one type is better than the other, but they have some different characteristics, including growing characteristics, that you should know, so that when you plant lilies you'll know what you can expect. For one thing, Asian lilies are considered the easiest to grow of the two types. Asian lilies also have tendency to multiply fairly rapidly, whereas Oriental lilies do not. The Asian lily blooms earlier (mid-simmer) than the Oriental lily (mid to late autumn. If it is fragrance you're after, Oriental lilies would be your better choice, at least the more fragrant lilies often are of the Oriental variety. It's not that Asian lilies have no scent, though some don't, but they are generally more noted for their beauty than for their fragrance. As far as butterflies are concerned, it doesn't matter which type you plant, if you plant lilies they will come.
Everyone Loves Them - Unfortunately, it's not only butterflies that love Asian (and Oriental) lilies Squirrels love to eat the bulbs, perhaps deer as well. While there is a variety of animal repellent chemicals on the market, one gardener reports being very successful in keeping squirrels at by sprinkling cayenne pepper in the vicinity where the bulbs have been planted.
Asian lilies come in both short and tall sizes, plus in between. They are hybrids, and share the characteristic of having blooms that last for many days, even a few weeks, and produce year after year. In most areas the bulbs can be left in the ground through the winter, as they are hardy in USDA zones 3-9. As the bulbs are normally planted at a depth of 8 to 10 inches, it takes severely cold weather to cause them any significant damage. Even so, it's a good practice to mulch the bulbs with a layer of straw, pine needles, or bark, to help them survive the winter months.
Most Asian lilies naturalize easily, and therefore are great when planted in clusters or along borders. The dwarf or shorter varieties make excellent border plants.
Here are half a dozen of the more popular and easy to find varieties: (1) White Lace is a hybrid of a fairly rare white Chinese lily. It features 6 inch blooms on a 5 foot stalk, and does not require staking. (2) Mount Duckling is a dwarf variety featuring dark pink blooms, great for borders, and for cut flowers as well. (3) Blackbird is also excellent as a cut flower, and the upturned deep red blossoms lend themselves to container planting. (4) Montenegro features 3 to 5 deep red 6-inch blossoms one each stem. The Montenegro grows to a height of 3 to 3 1/2 feet. (5) Lollypop is one of the more profuse bloomers in the lily family. This Asian lily has upright 4 to 5-inch flowers on a 2 to 3 foot stalk. (6) Treffer has radiant orange colored blossoms, and being 2 to 3 feet tall is excellent for planting behind border plants. One gardener reports that orange Asian lilies have a tendency to stain whatever the stamens come in contact with. Whether the Treffer was the guilty party or not was not noted.
A seventh variety should be mentioned. It's the Landini, and is one of the darkest lilies, in fact one of the darkest flowers, you're apt to come across. The Landini has velvety, very deep red blossoms, which appear to be almost black.
With a little searching you can find several other dwarf Asian lilies in a variety of colors that are excellent as bedding plants or for borders. Whatever varieties of Asian lilies you chose, and choosing several different ones is certainly not hard to do, remember to get enough bulbs so that if you want a bouquet of cut flowers, you'll have plenty of blossoms left over.