Lilies are one of the most well-known and well-loved springtime flowers in the world. It’s little wonder, as the prolific flowers come in over 2,000 varieties to choose from, plus thousands more hybrids beyond that. The flowers belong to the family known as Lilium so when you see that word attached, you’re looking at some kind of true lily. They may come in any color, almost literally, depending on the particulars of the variety or cultivar. There are some flowers called lilies, as well, like calla lilies and peace lilies, but these aren’t actually part of the Lilium family and not considered true lilies. For the sake of this piece, we’re looking at true lilies and many of the hybrids, types, and varieties that come in white.
One larger category or type of lily is the oriental lily. The plants originated in Japan and has a longer flowering period than many other flowering plants. These fragrant flowers come in a wide range of colors and grow up to 5 feet tall. They bloom in mid to late summer, into the autumn, just as other varieties and species (like Asiatics) are fading. The blooms are large, work well as cut flowers, and even in white, they come in a range of cultivars and hybrids that make for stunning color variations. When mature, the plants thrive in USDA Growing Zones 5 to 7.
Specific cultivars and varieties within the grouping will have different needs, of course, and some may have wider or narrower Growing Zone possibilities. Be sure to pay attention to the specifics offered up from nurseries when you purchase the plants or bulbs.
Oriental Lily Polar Star (Double)
One hybrid of the Oriental lily is the Polar Star, which is a double-blooming white lily. The fluffy white flowers come in double or even triple on occasion, with the petals slightly curling at the tips. The flowers are long-lasting and look delicate though they’re reasonably hardy when properly cared for and protected. This hybrid does best in USDA Zones 5 to 8, grows up to 42 inches tall, with a spread up to 9 inches, and needed partial sun to shade. They bloom from July into autumn.
Oriental Roselily Corolla
An exceptionally fragrant variety of Oriental lily is the Roselily Corolla. The flower is a double white, with long-lasting blooms that don’t produce pollen and reach up to 10 inches in diameter. They do best in planted groups and as container garden plants in groupings, in heavier soil with humus and drainage. They thrive in full sun to partial shade with moderate water and bloom in the summer.
Oriental Roselily Jisca
Another hybrid is the double-flowered roselily Jisca, another pollen-free bloom. The white flower has a bright yellow sunburst at the center of each bloom. They’re long-lasting blooms, too. They thrive in slightly acidic soil in USDA Zones 3 to 10, growing up to 30 inches in height. They need full to partial shade and bloom from summer to autumn.
Oriental Roselily Sascha
A third roselily variation is the Sascha. The white petals have a light blush tone mingling over the vibrant white with bold greenery on the plant. The flower is pollen-free but has a light scent. The plant reaches up to 30 inches in height and thrives in moist, well-draining soil, full sun, and blooms in summer.
Oriental Lily Playtime
The Oriental lily Playtime is a bold white flowering plant that has yellow and fuchsia stripes through each petal, along with freckles. They have a heady fragrance that helps to make them particularly popular among lily lovers, and they thrive in USDA Zones 5 to 9, blooming in early to mid-summer.
Dizzy Oriental Lily
Dizzy lilies are some of the most popular among Oriental lilies because of their beautiful, unique coloring. They have outward-facing white blooms with raspberry red colored stripes down each petal, with red freckles. They’re perennials that bloom from mid- to late-summer, grow up to 4 feet tall, and thrive in either full sun or partial shade.
Casa Blanca lilies are large milk-white lilies that face outward and are shaped like bowls with recurved petals. They usually produce 6 to 8 blossoms per step and are fragrant. They’re easy lilies to care for and are thought to represent joy and life. They prefer cool soil that is well-draining and need to receive at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Asiatic lilies are gorgeous white blooms you’ll want to grow if you want big flowers. The flowers come in many colors but some of the most vivid and stunning Asiatic lilies are indeed white. They are also some of the easiest of the lilies to care for and grow, and they tend to bloom in autumn. They generally are unscented and highly hybridized so often also come pollen-free.
Black Spider Asiatic Lily
Despite the name, the black spider lily is actually a creamy-white flower that has black-purple hearts and burgundy spots on the petals. Each stem generally produces 5 to 7 flowers, the plants grow between 2 and 3 feet tall, and they thrive in both full sun and partial shade. They bloom in early to mid-summer.
Dot Com Asiatic Lily
A creamy-white Asiatic lily is the Dot Com. The flower comes in white or purplish pink, though, so be careful to choose the right bulbs or plants to get the white shade. They have burgundy spots on them, as well, and generally grow to about 3 feet in height. They thrive in partial shade or full sun, and should be planted in either early spring or in autumn.
Patricia’s Pride Asiatic Lily
Also known as Purple Rain, Patricia’s Pride is a unique variety of Asiatic lily that has a white bloom with a burgundy to purple heart. They bloom in mid-summer, grow between 3 and 4 feet tall, and thrive in either full sun or partial shade. They may also have yellowish edges, in some cases. For true white Patricia’s Price, be sure to choose plants from a parent with white coloring.
Asiatic Lily Bright Diamond
For a fragrant choice in white Asiatic lily, consider the Bright Diamond. The plant gets its name from the shape of the blooms and the vivid, bold white coloring. The beautiful blooms are a stunning, bright white, they’re fragrant, and they bloom reliably in early summer. They do best in USDA Zones 4 to 9, they reach as tall as 42 inches, and thrive in both full sun and partial shade.
The trumpet lily is perhaps the most iconic lily type because of the flower’s image that is so often associated with Easter, the Easter seals, and other organizations that use them to represent them in some way. They are also known as Aurelian lilies and happen to be extremely fragrant. They usually bloom before either Oriental or Asiatic lilies, in early to midsummer and even late spring, depending on the specific cultivar or variety.
Trumpet lilies have thick, waxy petals that form the trumpet shape and generally come in pale colors including white, yellow, cream, peach, and pink, though many hybrids come in deeper shades. Trumpet lilies tend to grow up to between 5 and 6 feet in height. Most trumpet lilies have petals that curl back on themselves, but some may do so to a deeper degree than others.
Probably the most famous of all trumpet lilies is the iconic Easter lily. The beautiful white lilies are native to Japan but were exported long ago and became synonymous with the religious holiday. Interestingly enough, the natural blooming time for Easter lilies is nowhere near the holiday but rather naturally in summer. They have deep green, glossy oval leaves and the iconic white trumpet-shaped blooms that droop down from the stem attractively.
Lilium Longiflorum ‘White American’
The ‘White American’ is a cultivar of the Easter lily. It’s a hardy trumpet lily plant that is also a fast-grower, when properly cared for and grown in the right environment. The plant has dark green, lance-shaped leaves and bold white blooms, often with green-tinged tips, though not always. They grow up to 3 to 4 feet, bloom in summer, and thrive in full sun to partial shade in USDA Zones 4 to 8.
The Eyeliner lily is also actually an early-blooming Asiatic and Easter lily hybrid that resulted in a trumpet-shaped flower with a bold, milk-white color with purple-black edging on the closest parts of the petals to the flower hearts. They’re semi-upward facing flowers that reach up to 3 feet in height. They need bright, sunny locations with well-draining soil. The flower earns its name from the distinctive “lining” around parts of the flower.
Lilium longiflorum ‘White Heaven’
Another trumpet lily cultivar of the Easter lily is the ‘White Heaven.’ This beautiful plant blooms in July and August, thrives in sun to partial shade and offers up a beautiful, heady fragrance. The White Heaven plant is not winter hardy, though, so must be grown in warmer environments. They produce huge, pure white flowers with a yellow heart, typically offering up 3 to 6 blooms per stem.
Regal (Regale) Lily
The Regal or Regale lily is a native of southwestern Chinese regions. They look a bit like Easter lilies, but they are taller and require staking, due to their height and sheer size. They often grow up to 5 feet in height, with the gorgeous, heavy trumpet blooms pulling the stems downward when not properly supported. They have vivid yellow hearts that help to distinguish them from Easter lilies, as well. Regales do well in USDA Zones 4 to 8 and bloom in mid-summer. They need full sun or partial shade and properly draining soil.
Other White Lilies
There are many other white lilies, as well, including some that are the hybrids of various types of lilies. Depending on your preferences, you may wish to mix and match several types of white lilies or grow only a single variety.
Dating back to ancient Rome, Madonna lilies were most frequently used for medicinal purposes, with each part of the plant turning up in some herbal remedy or other, specifically in oils and balms. The flowering plant was used for softening foot skin, treating corns and boils, and in ancient Egypt, the flowering plant was used for treating burns and inflammation. The Madonna lily is an extremely fragrant lily plant and easily identified by the scent, if you’re familiar, or the pure white blossoms with light yellow hearts. The petals curve back on themselves.
Golden Rayed Lily
The stunning Golden rayed lily is a fragrant lily plant that comes from Japan and produces large, wide-mouthed blooms that grow up to 12 inches in diameter. The flowers are soft and white with yellow stripes at the center of each petal, looking a little bit like “golden rays” or stars. The flowers may also come in a soft pink tone, so be sure to choose bulbs in the right color. Some also have dark freckles on the petals. They prefer acidic to neutral soil and do well as container plants as long as they have proper drainage. They thrive in USDA Zones 5 to 10, with full to partial sunlight.
Crossing an Asiatic and trumpet lily will result in the beautiful Asiflorum lily, a bold, fragrantly blooming flowering plant that reaches up to 38 inches in height. The flowers bloom in summer and are long-lasting. They technically come in many colors, but one of the boldest and brightest is the white flower. They’re great as container plants.
Whether you know this flower as the Silk Road or the Friso, the gorgeous white lily with a crimson throat is a stunner. It blooms from mid- to late-summer, growing up to 7 feet in height with a spread of 2 to 3 feet. They thrive in USDA Zones 4 to 8 and are a low maintenance plant as long as they have full to partial sun and well-draining soil.
Lily LA Hybrid Richmond
A fragrant hybrid is the Richmond. The beautiful flowering plant grows large, upward-facing, bright white blooms on sturdy stems. They thrive in USDA Zones 4 to 8, grow up to 48 inches tall, and are fairly easy to care for. They need full to partial sun, well-draining soil, and moderate watering.
Summary of 23 Types Of White Lilies
|2||Oriental Lily Polar Star (Double)|
|3||Oriental Roselily Corolla|
|4||Oriental Roselily Jisca|
|5||Oriental Roselily Sascha|
|6||Oriental Lily Playtime|
|7||Dizzy Oriental Lily|
|10||Black Spider Asiatic Lily|
|11||Dot Com Asiatic Lily|
|12||Patricia’s Pride Asiatic Lily|
|13||Asiatic Lily Bright Diamond|
|16||Lilium Longiflorum ‘White American’|
|18||Lilium longiflorum ‘White Heaven’|
|19||Regal (Regale) Lily|
|24||Lily LA Hybrid Richmond|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Julia Gardener/Shutterstock.com
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