Lily Plant Types: What Are Different Varieties Of Lilies

lily varieties
lily varieties
(Image credit: dtv2)

Lilies are extremely popular plants to grow in pots and in the garden. Partly because they’re so popular, they’re also very numerous. There are a huge number of different varieties of lilies, and picking out the right one can get a little overwhelming. Luckily, there are some basic broad classifications of this excellent cutting flower. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of lilies and when they bloom.

Lily Plant Types

Lily plant types can be divided into 9 basic categories, or “divisions.”

  • Division 1 is made up of Asiatic Hybrids. These lilies are very cold hardy and often the earliest bloomers. They are usually 3 to 4 feet (1 m.) tall and produce unscented flowers in almost every color imaginable.
  • Division 2 lily plant types are called Martagon Hybrids. These common lily varieties grow well in cool weather and shade, making them excellent for shady gardens. They produce many small, downward facing flowers.
  • Division 3 lilies are Candidum Hybrids and include most European varieties.
  • Division 4 lilies are American Hybrids. These are plants derived from the lilies that bloom in the wild in North America. They tend to bloom in late spring in warm climates and midsummer in cooler climates.
  • Division 5 is made up of Longiflorum Hybrids. Longiflorum is commonly called Easter Lily, and its hybrids usually share the pure white, trumpet-shaped flowers.
  • Division 6 lilies are Trumpet and Aurelian Hybrids. These common lily varieties are not frost hardy and should be grown in pots in cool climates. They like full sun and in mid to late summer produce stunning, trumpet-shaped blossoms.
  • Division 7 lilies are Oriental Hybrids. Not to be confused with Asiatic Hybrids, these lilies can grow to 5 feet (1.5 m.) high, bloom in late summer, and have a strong, enchanting fragrance.
  • Division 8 lilies are Interdivisional Hybrids, or varieties of lily created by crossing plants of the 7 previous divisions.
  • Division 9 is made up of Species lilies. These are the pure, wild parents of the first 8 hybrid groups and are often harder to grow than hybrids.
Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.